Law professor and author Ralph Richard Banks wrote a controversial editorial for the NY Post titled “Why more black women should consider marrying white men.”
Banks shared examples of successful Black and brown women who are in long-term marriages with white men. He seemed to suggest these women are successful, in part, because they are married to white men.
Banks lists statistics that show Black men are less likely than Black women to graduate high school and 50 percent less likely to hold a college degree.
He also notes that Black women are the least likely of any minority group to marry outside of their race, quoting data from the Pew Research Center.
Banks upholds Vice President Kamala Harris (who is actually Indian) as an example of a successful Black woman in an interracial marriage. Harris and Douglas Emhoff, who is white, were married in 2014.
Banks compared Harris to Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, who is married to Dr. Patrick Jackson.
Banks says Harris and Jackson (pictured with husband Patrick Jackson and daughter Leila) will be the most powerful women in America if Brown is confirmed to the Supreme Court and Harris becomes president of the United States.
“Rather than partner with men of other races, many heterosexual black women either don’t marry or marry black men with whom they are not especially well matched,” Banks writes.
According to Pew Research Center, 12 percent of black women were in an interracial marriage in 2017 compared to just 3% in 1980. The statistic is even higher in 2022.
Actress Jodie Turner-Smith who is married to “The Affair” star Joshua Jackson, has faced backlash on social media for some of her tweets about marrying outside of her race.
According to Banks, “Black women should not be held hostage to the struggles of black men.”
He writes that Black women should not have to “marry down,” they should “marry out”.
Banks, co-founder & faculty director of the Stanford Center for Racial Justice, argues that successful Black women are at the forefront of national media coverage while “there has been little discussion in the media or culture” about their white partners.
He hopes that prominent Black and brown women like Harris or Jackson will help to increase social acceptance of interracial unions.
“If so, then Black women will be able to enjoy the relationship freedom they deserve,” he wrote.
Ralph Richard Banks is also the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.