Today, black-white relationships are becoming more and more accepted. Although there is less television shows and movies showcasing interracial relationships than there were in the 1990s, black-white marriage numbers are still increasing. A 2005 USA TODAY article entitled, Love is no longer color-coded on TV, discusses the difference in reception an interracial couple gets on TV today compared to in the 1960s and 1970s. Basically, there is no reaction today; color does not matter. A USA TODAY poll released in 2011 found that 86% of Americans approve of black-white marriages, compared with 48% in 1991. Among ages 18-37, 97% approved. There were over 422,000 black-white marriages in the United States in 2011. Although miniscule when compared to the entire population, 422,000 is substantially more than 60,000 (1960).
Additionally, black-white online dating sites have increased awareness and acceptance. Unfortunately, the stereotypes in black-white relationships still exist.
More movies show a white male with a black female than vice versa. The white male dominates media, and therefore, seeing a white male get an attractive woman, black or white, appeals to a high volume of people. Simply put, seeing a white male with an attractive black female makes the white male feel good about himself. Clutch Magazine had an article recently that stated, “Don’t get me wrong; I have no problem with IR (Interracial) relationships on TV. But when you consider that all of the ‘attractive’ Black women on network TV are dating White men, then you have to consider that something is going on. Kerry’s character is dating a White guy, Vanessa Williams’ character is (666 Park Ave), Joy Bryant is (Parenthood), Anika Noni Rose’s is (The Good Wife) and there are more. TV is fantasy for White people. And that’s why the White guys get all of the ‘attractive’ women. We have to be aware of what messages are being sent when we watch TV.”
Something New, a film that was released in 2006 features a black female falling for a white male.
It is interesting that a white male, black female relationship is the most popular black-white combination in media considering the common stereotype that black men love white women. No matter how high the acceptance rate, the sex driven, violent, black male stereotype still exists. If you Google search “interracial”, you will find a lot of pornographic photographs of black men and white women. This type of stereotype indicates that there is still progress to be made.
Question: Do television and movies dictate our position on interracial relationships, or does our position dictate what is shown on television and in movies?
Answer: It seems that popular culture originally influenced what Hollywood shows. However, Hollywood reciprocates the influencing by showcasing to its vast audiences. In other words, they both work off of one another. Although originally influenced by popular culture, Hollywood helps or hinders (depending on your view) the acceptance of Interracial Relationships, particularly black-white romance by publicizing, exhibiting, and discussing.