And we continue our ongoing discussion on the book by Stanford Law/Education Prof. Ralph Richard Banks "Is Marriage For Black People?"
; below, I present an email letter I sent earlier to one Camille Gear Rich
, a Black Woman law professor at USC. She participated in a panel discussion on Banks' book a few months back, and the points she raised - I should like to note that she is the only one to make such points in the entire discussion - moved me to write her. Checkout the panel discussion and feel free to offer your comments!
Hello Prof. Rich,
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am known as Obsidian, a Black Male blogger. You can check out my blog, The Obsidian Files, here: obsidianraw.bravejournal.com.
during your appearance on the panel discussion on Stanford Law Prof. Ralph Richard Banks' book, "Is Marriage For Black People?" at the USC School of Law a few months back was, I thought, a rare instance of realworld and, dare I say it, damn-near heretical insight coming from an Ivory Tower ensconced academic, where notions of cultural/environmental pressures are the coin of the realm, and ideas such as Evolutionary Psychology
- which is really what your remarks gives a nod to - are verboten.
Your broaching the Question of Swag, as I like to call it, really pours a lot of water on Prof. Banks' assertions that he makes in the book. Among other things, the simple truth is, that the "all Brothas in jail" line of thinking obscures the discussion, because as we all know, those guys, even if they weren't in prison, wouldn't be likely to go on to the hallowed halls of academe - at best, they would lead solid, productive, working class lives.
The real issue, and again, you hit the nail right on the head, is why haven't the Sistas Banks writes about in his book, given their Black Male middle class counterparts a shot?
The answer is simple: no swag.
And this highlights a tremendously important aspect of the discussion that has been for the most part, invisible - the role that sexual attraction must play, in order for anything else to happen, between Male and Female.
All of the things Banks discusses in his book - the high achievement, the attainment of education at the graduate level in college, etc et al - are markers no doubt of longtime pairbonding - what EvoPsychs call "Dad" traits to be sure; but he is either ignorant of, or disengenuous about, the role that "Cad" traits play, too - and your examples of Alonzo Harris
(the character's name in the film "Training Day"
, portrayed so well by Denzel Washington
that it won him his first Best Actor Oscar), John McClane
(played by Bruce Willis
in the 80s thriller "Diehard"
; yes, White Men can have "swag", although it has been observed that, on balance and in aggreate, Black Men have more of it) and of course, Carlton
, the "Oreo" character in the Will Smith sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
speaks to all of this. The problem isn't that lots of Brothas are in jail; the problem is that far too few middle class Brothas have Game
- studied charisma aimed at winning and maintaining the sexual attraction of Women.
There's more - a lot more - I could say on this note, and I invite you to checkout my blog, as I've taken it upon myself to devote an ongoing series of posts to Banks' book, where I address point for point where and why I think he's wrong as two left shoes - but I just wanted to drop this note on you to let you know that I thought you inserted a powerful point into that discussion that night.
Too bad it's a bit too off the ivory tower path to be taken seriously.
And the band, will play on...
Now adjourn your asses...