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Interracial Marriage: More Accepted, Still Growing

Publication Date: 
November 07, 2011
USA Today
Sharon Jayson

Professor Ralph Richard Banks spoke with Sharon Jayson of USA today about his new book, "Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone" and how "black women are at a power disadvantage."

The dating message Kelsi Hasden got from her parents was more than tolerant.

"It was always clear that pretty much anybody from any racial background would be acceptable," she says. Her mother is white, and her father is black.

"I'm pretty dark-complected. A lot of people think I'm Hispanic," says Hasden, 26, of Jacksonville, who last year married Brian Hasden, 28, who is white.

"I've dated black guys, white guys, Hispanics," she says. "Race, color, how people identify doesn't really cross my mind."


More black women should look across color lines for partners, as black men have, suggests Stanford University law professor Ralph Richard Banks, author of Is Marriage for White People? out in September.

The pool of black men is smaller than the pool of black women, he says, because many black men of prime marriage age are incarcerated and lag behind black women educationally, which affects earning potential and makes them less desirable partners.

"Relationships may be about love and devotion, but they form in a market. In the African-American relationship market, men have a lot more options. The more options you have, the more power you have," Banks says. "Black women are at a power disadvantage."