Review: 'Is Marriage for White People?'

An upcoming book instructs black women to marry outside of their race to solve their relationship woes.

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There's no sense that he has an agenda here. And the discussion avoids the combative or terribly oversimplified treatmentthat we've learned to anticipate. This section of the book feels like an earnest attempt to grapple with what's going on in a way that honors the various forces that shape black women's relationship choices.

It should have stopped there. Instead, after the three chapters exhaustively analyzing why black women don't marry non-black men (or "marry out," as the author calls it), more often the book lurches to the four-paragraph "provocative and paradoxical" conclusion that more black women should marry interracially. According to the book, this will alter the relationship market in ways that, counterintuitively, lead to more black men and women getting married. 

Don't ask for any more details. Suddenly, after all the detailed and heavily cited treatment the book has given to "the decline of black marriage," we get an unsubstantiated, scarcely explained theory, stated as absolute fact.

And then it's over. 

In its best parts, this book is a sincere and intelligent offering to a conversation that's often lacking in both sincerity and intelligence. But if its shallow solution is the most we can get from an undertaking that promises to serve as the "definitive guide to unprecedented shifts in the terrain of intimacy," then "Is marriage for white people?" isn't the only unanswered question this book raises.

Jenée Desmond-Harris is a regular contributor to The Root.

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