Is Marriage for Anyone?
Two recent books on marriage—Is Marriage for White People? by Ralph Richard Banks and Unhitched by Judith Stacey—are considered in this review essay by sociologist Micki McGee. Banks argues that the decline of marriage among African American women constitutes a social problem that could be remedied if more women from this group opted for interracial marriages. Stacey’s cross-cultural study contends that marriage is an institution that attempts the near impossible task of reconciling the goals of domesticity with those of erotic life, and that in the process an extraordinary range of marital arrangements have emerged. Taken together these arguments ask us to consider who marriage serves.