Ralph Richard Banks grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and graduated from high school in 1983. He then enrolled at Stanford University, where he received both bachelor's and master's degrees in 1987. He received his law degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1994.
After graduating from Stanford, Banks wrote regularly about race, culture, and inequality for a wide array of newspapers, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Denver Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others.
After graduating from law school, Banks practiced law at the San Francisco office of O'Melveny & Myers. He is a member of the California Bar.
After leaving private practice, Banks served as the Reginald F. Lewis Fellow at Harvard Law School, where he wrote "The Color of Desire: Fulfilling Adoptive Parents' Racial Preferences Through Discriminatory State Action." The article subsequently appeared in the Yale Law Journal.
Following his fellowship, Banks clerked for the Honorable Barrington D. Parker, Jr., of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Banks' research addresses issues related to race and inequality across a variety of domains, from criminal justice, to employment, to the family. He has written and lectured widely in these areas. Professor Banks teaches family law, employment discrimination law, race and law, and the Fourteenth Amendment. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and the University of Virginia Law School. His scholarly writings have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Vanderbilt Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, the California Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, and many others. He is an editorial board member of the Law & Society Review.
•Constitutional Law II: The Fourteenth Amendment
•Equal Protection and Antidiscrimination Law
Ralph Richard Banks lives with his wife, Jennifer Eberhardt, a prominent social psychologist, Stanford University faculty member and Macarthur Grant awardee, and their three children (Everett, Ebbie, and Harlan) in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Banks is mentioned in Publisher's Weekly on December 7, 2009 for his scholarship on race and the law. "Brian Tart, president and publisher of Dutton, bought world rights to Ralph Richard Banks’s 'Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone'"
Banks is quoted in the Los Angeles Times in its story on December 18, 2009, "Tiger Woods and wife: If they split, how to divide?."
Banks is quoted in the Orlando Sentinel in its front-page story on December 19, 2009, "Stars' special set of problems - Celebrity breakups often extra bumpy."
Banks is quoted in the Sacramento Bee in its story on January 19, 2010, "At Heart Of Prop. 8 Trial, A Clash Over Motives."
Banks wrote for the New York Times "Room for Debate" blog on January 24, 2010. The entry, "The Marriage Decline" appears as part of a feature on "Alpha Wives: the Trend and the Truth."
Banks' book is mentioned in the Los Angeles Times. "Soul-searching on the subject of romance" by Sandy Banks appears in the May 29, 2010 Los Angeles Times.
Banks was on ABC News on June 4, 2010. "Black Women Least Likely to Marry, but Overall Interracial Marriage More Common Than Ever."
Banks blogged in the New York Times "Room for Debate" blog on June 4, 2010, "The Soul Mate Factor" (in "Divorce: It’s Not Always About You")
Banks was a guest on Which Way, LA?. "The Prop 8 Arguments Are Over, Now It's Up to the Judge" aired on Wednesday, June 16, 2010.
Banks was quoted on Morning Edition on NPR. "Will Gay Marriage Be A Ripple Or Tsunami?" aired on August 5, 2010.
Banks was on OnPoint Radio on December 8, 2010. "Rick Banks on black marriage: when women earn more money than husbands, we see higher divorce rates."
The Marriage Decline, Room for Debate: A Running Commentary on the News, New York Times, January 24, 2010.
Author Tells Black Women: Marry “Out” Not “Down”, NPR News, June 29, 2011.
Marriage: Denied and Delayed, Forum with Michael Krasny, KQED Radio, July 19, 2011.
"An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage", Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2011
Banks' book was reviewed in the National Review Online, August 8, 2011
Banks' book was the topic of an article in Essence Magazine, August 9, 2011
Should Parents Marry for the Kids?, Room for Debate: A Running Commentary on the News, New York Times, August 30, 2011
Banks was interviewed on the KQED Forum with Michael Krasny, August 31, 2011
Banks was interviewed in Time Magazine, August 31, 2011
Banks' book was featured in a spread in Essence Magazine, September 2011 issue
Banks was interviewed on the Patt Morrison Radio Show on September 1, 2011
Banks' book is reviewed in Newsweek, September 1, 2011
Banks wrote for the New York Daily News, September 2, 2011
Banks was interviewed on CNN Newsroom, September 2, 2011
Banks was interviewed on CNN Newsroom, September 3, 2011
Banks wrote for Fox News, September 3, 2011
Banks was interviewed for an article on Salon.com, September 4, 2011
Banks was interviewed on Fox News on September 9, 2011
Banks was interviewed on WNYC "The Takeaway", September 12, 2011
Banks' book is reviewed in the New York Times, September 16, 2011
Banks was on CNN News on September 27, 2011
Banks' book was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, September 29, 201
Banks' book was reviewed in the Chicago Tribune, October 2, 2011
Banks' book is mentioned in the Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2011
Banks's book was reviewed in the Economist, October 15, 2011
Banks was on Nightline on ABC News, October 19, 2011
Banks' book was reviewed in the SF Chronicle, October 23, 2011
The Racial Gap in Marriage: How the Institution Is Tied to Inequality, The Atlantic, October 27, 2011
Banks was interviewed on WHYY Radio, November 1, 2011
Banks' book was reviewed in the Chicago Tribune, November 2, 2011
Banks' book was the topic of a Huffington Post Article and Video, November 7, 2011
Debate between Banks and Vanessa Bush, executive of Essence Magazine and Melissa Harris-Perry, an expert in race and gender issues at Tulane University in New Orleans, Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2011