Synthesizing and Focusing the Debate
Jordan (Hurt), Tera
Ralph Richard Banks makes a substantial contribution to the field of Black relationships, and marriage in general, with the book Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone. Banks synthesizes research from law, sociology, and public health (to name a few) in his presentation of issues salient to the changing landscape of relationship formation and maintenance. To offer concrete examples of relationship issues and to provide evidence to support his claims, Banks revisits well‐known passages from popular movies and fictional literature and integrates examples from qualitative interviews he conducted with single Black women in their 30s and 40s. In this review, I describe four central issues that Banks addresses—similarities in marriage trends across groups, the pattern of marrying down but not out, challenges linked to gender relations, and relationship transiency—and discuss what I view as three limitations of the book.
This book review is published as Hurt, T. R. (2012). Synthesizing and focusing the debate. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 4 (4), 355-358. DOI: 10.1111/j.1756-2589.2012.00145.x. Posted with permission.