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Soul-Searching On The Subject Of Romance

Publication Date: 
May 29, 2010
Los Angeles Times
Sandy Banks

Professor R. Richard Banks is noted in the L.A. Times about his forthcoming book Is Marriage for White People?. His sister, Sandy Banks, wrote this opinion piece:

Onstage at the swanky Los Angeles Athletic Club, a panel of successful black men and women —lawyers, professors and business owners — was offering relationship advice.

Hundreds of women had paid $10 to hear it. Dozens lined up to ask questions:

Given the shortage of black men, should women compromise on monogamy? What's more important in a relationship, chemistry or stability? Why do black men find successful women so intimidating?

But I found the more interesting talk down the hall, among strangers in the ladies' room.

"My girlfriend is going out with a Persian guy and he treats her like a queen," announced a dark-skinned woman in a tight blue dress. "She's gonna see if he has a friend for me."


I have more than a passing interest, as an unpartnered, middle-aged black woman. And more than just superficial knowledge: my brother, a law professor at Stanford, is writing a book on the decline in black marriage and has unearthed painful stories and discouraging statistics.

He's found that black women's fealty to black men has helped create an imbalance that penalizes them. And that a combination of forces — online social networks, integrated neighborhoods and workplace diversity — are tempting them to look elsewhere for partnership.