10.25.2011

Is Marriage for White People? What do you think?

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson:

Hello All: I just received this email from the Black Star Project, a publication from the Midwest that I have been subscribing to for years now (ever since their inception). It's entitled: "Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone," and is written by Ralph Richard Banks.

Way to get your attention!!! I can see us lining up on either side of this one for a long, drawn out debate.

Interesting topic - eh what? I have often wondered how it is that we went from being descendants of kings and queens, from great empires, to being dis-functional and dis-trustful of each other. How we went from being families of great lineages, to this pseudo-independent solo act that we've got going here. I've not read this brother's book, but I find the question to be both deeply interesting and deeply disturbing at the same time. Given the fact that we survived the greatest ignominies because we were able to forge families and thereby our strengths, only to make it to a stage in our evolution where we can't, won't or don't have the wherewithal amongst us to find something so intrinsic within us to bond us and bless us as I see so many of our contemporary parallel cultural brothers and sisters being blessed with love, family, companionship (not talking about whites - but our African, East Indian, Latino, Asian, Caribbean and some "European" brothers and sisters who know "it takes two baby").

As one who grew up in a family of married partners - my parents, both sets of my grandparents, my great grand parents; my aunts and uncles on both sides of my family - all married partners - not stuck or sticking it out, but in it to win it, I find it puzzling and sad that we are ever the statistics that are held up, when it comes to dis-function, dis-integrated, and a few other disses I can name but won't.

We definitely need a paradigm shift. I'm not sure his is the one, but it does bring it all down front, doesn't it?

Can we as a people, individually and collectively, continue to go limping through society pretending to buy into the bull that there are not of us who are any good to go around? Talk about setting up a self fulfilling prophesy! We seem to be good about allowing others to define us, and we actually appear to be jumping through hoops to show that it's absolutely true, and we're "cool" with it.

Whether you call it accommodation, assimilation, resignation, or just stagnation, we are clearly further behind because of integration (should have stuck with desegregation), because the indication is that we on the brink of dissipation.

So for my sisters and brothers who really have yet to find the criteria you think the other should have, check out what you're bringing to the table - and I ain't just talkin' about money, either. Nobody's perfect - including you, or yours truly. And I hate to tell you this, but the person who said you can't love anyone until you learn to love yourself first, lied. Sometimes you learn to love yourself, because you learn to love. PERIOD!!

While I don't buy into the premise that the best answer for Black women is to marry outside their race, I also don't think we should be consigned to a solo life either. And since polygamy is not an alternative in the US - not because it doesn't work, because it does in other cultures - Americans are just too selfish to have it succeed here - Intracultural - I did not say multi-cultural, because that term has been so overworked as of late - relationships may be a positive and valid alternative.

Those who are the descendants of kings and queens, who have deliberately not passed on your legacy via having your own princes and princesses, and think that getting a PhD, or becoming a mega-star is going to do it, are missing the soul satisfaction that comes from nurturing your own (and for the cynics who find my views old fashioned, don't knock it if you haven't tried it. Adoption is also an option - we have so many of our children out here who would truly benefit from a real home).
I don't know where or who I would be without my three - bragging parent (and grandparent) that I am - but I digress.

We, as a people are in a mess - and it's up to us to redirect our paths and get us out of it, unless we really want to have placards in various parts of the world saying, Blacks used to live here, they are now largely extinct, except for a few melanites who reside on the outskirts of reality, and they themselves are a pale comparison of the original.

I would love to hear back from those who listen to or attend the program, as to how you feel about where he's coming from?

This should keep us talking for quite some time. Wonder where we'll end up after this? After the Civil Rights Movement was finally "won," we, who were proudly known as Watu Wazuri (beautiful people in Swahili) ended up at each other's throats for 40 years - drugs, thugs, witches, bitches & "ho's", facing out of wedlock childbirths, baby's mamma drama, baby daddy debacle's, divorces, and a whole host of other perversions that have taken us off course, from being the exemplars of kings and queens who survived, to some sort or retrograde to a by gone era prior to the time when the motto was "education is key", "family first" and "what did you say about my momma??!!" (often followed by a punch in the mouth, now followed by some insipid fools trying to out denigrate each other's mother). THAT WAS TRULY A MOUTHFUL!

Do you somehow get the feeling that we are part of some gigantic behavioral modification experiment, where we are the double blind candidates - we don't even get a placebo - OR like Sister Henrietta Lacks - where we don't even get the cure - they take the information they have gleaned from our disfunction, and give the remedy to others, while we continue to writhe in our own confusion.

Time to buy a clue, get off the late show, wake up from the nightmare, and as Rev. Jesse Jackson has said so often, "turn to each other, not on each other;" and most certainly not away from each other.

Time to ramp up the learning curve, and get back to the spiritual (not religious - spiritual) people we claim to be. It's worth a try.

So, that said, perhaps we can put away the cynicism, drop the distrust, open up a little to understanding each other's angst, as well as glory, take a big cup of respect, mix it with a smile (I'm sorry, the so-called "game" face is really off-putting); drop the smart assed (uh, smart aleck) remarks and trade in the ghetto 4-letter words for something more soothing and uplifting such as "like", "love", "good", "trust", "happy"; and for goodness sakes take that snarky edge out of your voice, as though you're coming for war (did I say snarky? I meant sarcastic) - we're not competing to see who can defeat whom; it's about who can complement whom; who goes together with whom.

Now that I've gone waaaaay off on a tangent, as I often do, let me just end by saying that America is about the "pursuit of happiness." Africans are (or at least we were) about the achievement, attainment and sustainment of happiness.

I think living happily ever after is a goal worth working for. And I'm optimistic enough to think that we can do it together in our lifetime.
Stay Blessed &
ECLECTICALLY BLACK
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

The Press release about this book follows:

The Black Star Project: Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone. The Invisible Institute presents Ralph Richard Banks, Author, ina conversation with
Steve Edwards of Chicago Public Radio, on Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 7:00 pm
The Experimental Station (6100 S. Blackstone - 1500 east - Chicago, Illinois (for those of you may be in Chi-town and want to be there in person).

The Invisible Institute is presenting Ralph Richard Banks in a public conversation, which is sure to "spark a robust national conversation about race and relationships. Ralph Richard Banks is the Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. Banks explores the broad economic and cultural developments that have resulted in a society-wide decline in marriage--a decline that is most extreme among African Americans. Weaving together scholarly research with personal stories of women throughout the nation, he advances the challenging thesis that interracial marriage is the best hope for increasing marriage within the African American community."

Although Black women confront the smallest pool of viable partners due to the myriad struggles of Black men, they rarely marry men of other races. As Banks sees it, Black women would not only benefit themselves by being willing to marry a man of a different race, but would also bolster marriage among African American couples. Although often portrayed as abandonment of the race, interracial marriage by Black women, he argues, in fact serves the race.

Excerpts from the media page of his book's website gives you a taste of the public discussion--and controversy--prompted by Banks' thesis:

* Praise for Is Marriage for White People!
* "Fascinating--and very brave! Banks stays up close and personal as he surveys the brambly landscape of marriage prospects for accomplished African American women bringing into view rarely seen prides, longings, prejudices, and unexpected choices. Banks' probing examination makes a gripping read." - Nancy Cott, Harvard University
* "This brilliant and provocative book tells stories we all need to hear." - Susan Fiske, Princeton University
* "Learned and unflinching, careful but provocative. Banks unabashedly explores the most volatile racial issues. Sure to provoke fierce debate." - Randall Kennedy, Harvard Law School.

The Invisible Institute is a program of an Experimental Station in Chicago. "In the United States, we must teach parents to be better if we expect students and schools to be better. The Toyota/Black Star Parent University teaches more parents to be great parents. (Note: The Black Star Project | 3473 South King Drive, Box 464 | Chicago | IL | 60616)

I would love to be the fly on the wall when this controversy hits little ol' New York City! We are really going to have some serious dialogue around this. Can't wait til they bring that Brother to HueMan Books (hint). Should be very enlightening, indeed!!.

By the way, for those of you who read the title and answered "yes" you are the brainwashed ones.

Stay Blessed &
ECLECTICALLY BLACK
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

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