by Janks Morton
If I can convince you to buy into a problem, then you have to purchase my solution.
At this point in my life, I have grown quite weary of the dysfunctional and symbiotic relationship between special interest, media and government. What I have found is that too often, especially as it relates to the African American community, stereotypes, mischaracterizations, hyperbole, myth, and just out right unsubstantiated claims are not only tolerated but often encouraged in our public discourse. Regardless of the mechanism that is utilized to launch this misinformation, mostly, unexamined claims about the status of blacks in this country woefully compound and exacerbate an all-ready debilitating, if not denigrating dialogue .
This past Sunday morning proved to be no different, as sadly, I saw the Wall Street Journal make its entree into the swirling cesspool of unverified, anecdotal and inflammatory assertions, as well as a retread postulate based on faulty analysis and the skewing of statistics. What was most disturbing was the author’s attempt to ratify a timorously inadequate social proposition with flawed logic and poor statistical interpretation.
In the article by Professor Ralph Richard Banks titled “An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage ” Prof. Banks’ states that ” the most unmarried group of people in the U.S.: black women. ” and “Black women confront the worst relationship market of any group”...and they have needlessly worsened their situation by limiting themselves to black men.”
On the surface his claims may seem to be valid. Especially if we cross-pollinate his thesis with the statistics advanced by former stand-up comedian turned relationship guru Steve Harvey. In a national media campaign, Mr. Harvey claimed that 42% of African American women have never been married. Mr. Harvey, was fully endorsed by ABC News, Tyra Banks, Essence Magazine and The god-mother-of-them-all Oprah Winfrey. Subsequently, after a series of Townhall meetings, Radio and Television appearances, Mr. Harvey summarily outlines what he believes to be the underlying pathology and true causality of the plight of the unwed African American Woman. The African American Man.
In a similar narrative Prof. Banks’ article utilizes varied social, education and incarceration data to identify further the culprit in the dire quest for marriage of African-American women. Through his analysis, the responsibility rests squarely upon the shoulders of the unemployed, under-employed, overly-incarcerated, under-educated, immature, white woman lusting, secretly homosexual, emotionally unavailable on the verge of extinction African American Male. I may have taken some artistic license with the previous descript, however an examination of the commentary around this issue will validate my comments as a non-embellishment.
What I find most peculiar about this ongoing debate, was not once have I ever heard anyone mention through this national crisis of coupling, the one counter-balancing statistic from the same data set (American Community Survey: US Census Department-2007.)
HEADLINE: 44% of African American Males have never been married either. A statistic that if juxtaposed against Prof. Banks assertions, completely invalidates the proposition that African American women are the most unmarried group in this country. Moreover, this statistic opens up a more expansive conversation as to why are (blacks, if you must) and Americans marrying later and at lower rates than generations prior. But that conversation won’t get you a seat on any talk show or make your book a best-seller. I wonder if the Wall Street Journal still has an assignment desk dedicated to fact-checking?
Prof. Banks, as well as other social commentators, in their myopically skewed perspectives and continual “analysis” of modern-era black relationships, have found themselves a comfortable niche’ in the ongoing plight of African-American Women. An over-simplified and too oft quoted narrative, that in no way gives a fair representation of the African-American community. The Problem with Black Marriage is always African-American Men. A Narrow minded, divisive and over-generalizing ideologue; flawed in its inception. misleading at a minimum and malicious at its worst. So if Prof. Banks precursory presumptions are flawed(which an unbiased examination of the facts reveals), then I propose the solution Prof. Banks advances must be as equally flawed (if not preposterous).
“if more black women married non-black men, then more black men and women might, in time, marry each other”.
I would love to see the editorial response column to an article summarily recommending that Caucasian Women should consider marrying outside their race in order to address the declining marriage rates in the White community. As my grandfather use to say, “that dog don’t hunt”, and the backlash would be overwhelming. Unfortunately, this is the Black Community and media, government and Prof. Banks have been given latitude to propose any fool-hearty postulate because “we” are in such a “crisis”.
As a law professor I would expect Prof. Banks to know the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc. (after this therefore because of this) and to try to propose that increases in interracial marriage rates will in turn positively effect intraracial marriage rates is absurd . As an academic I would expect at least an opinion removed and more objective analysis of the social evidence. As a black man I would expect you to have an interest in providing viable solutions for a people desperately seeking answers. But in the end, maybe I expect too much.
Prof. Banks as well as others in this discussion are utilizing a biased methodology, to further launch an unfair and unrighteous smear upon black male identity, while simultaneously insulting the intellect of African American women. Prof. Banks is misusing partial information as an emotional appeal to Black women, manipulating a circumstance to capitalized on the fracture in modern-era black relationships. A fracture that has lead to ratings, print articles, Internet blogs, talk shows oh and Prof. Banks’ latest entry into this discourse. “Is Marriage for White People?” Published by Stanford Law School, due out in September. Another caretaker exploiting the misinformation, proposing the tag-line of a book as a solution, for the betterment of his checking account.
JANKS MORTON is a groundbreaking international and award winning Documentarian. As founder of iYAGO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, LLC, he states “the company came into existence to reflect both the conscious and unconscious soul of Black America. JANKS MORTON has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years and is a much sought-after teacher, lecturer, commentator and motivational speaker. He has convened workshops, seminars and served as panelist and keynote speaker at colleges, universities, prisons, conferences, churches and community centers around the world.