Marriage is a part of the fabric of American culture. However in countries like France and Switzerland, it is not necessary to have a formal ceremony to demonstrate commitment even when children are involved. Is America beginning to go the way of these countries? Especially in the African-American culture where black people marry less and divorce more.
Featured in Ebony Magazine and on CNN, Ralph Richard Banks examines the trends in African-American culture towards marriage. Blacks who are at the poverty level in this country are far less likely to marry. Those who are economically challenged or at a disadvantage are not motivated to get married. Whereas in their ancestors’ time they worked together to build a home and family, money was not their only motivation for marriage.
In Bank’s research, he found that successful African-American males are less likely to be in a hurry to marry. “Why get married when you don’t have too?” One successful black male responded. He understood that there are not as many successful black men incorporate America as there are black women. Their numbers do not exceed those of successful black women so he has his choice to choose from. Banks stated men on this level are far more likely to have affairs because they are in demand.
In examining African-American women, Banks found black women tend to be the most loyal to their race than any other culture. Be it up bringing or scares from the past or teaching from parents, black women tend to not stray from their race even when the pickings are slim and are willing to share. Black women tend to be supportive of the entire African-American race.
Banks refers to African-American women as the most segregated group when it comes to dating and marriage. Black males tend to marry twice as fast out of their race than their counterpart. Black women tend to want to marry black men even when there are successful white men who out number black males. One African-American woman said, “I just don’t want to explain myself to a white man,” meaning the cultural differences. Banks feels that black women do their self a disservice in this area.
On dating websites, Banks found there were non-blacks who were interested and willing to date black women if given a chance including white males. His thought, “Black women need to be more open to the possibility of finding love and happiness with someone who may not necessarily look like you.” In one case, Banks cited a black woman who said, “I am more myself as a black woman than I have ever been.” Her husband is white.
Is marriage just for white people? Ralph Richard Banks’ book is definitely food for thought and something to consider in the ways in which love and happiness is defined. Banks believes that when black women are more open this in fact will save the African-American race.