Sep 30, 2012

Are TV Shows Promoting Interracial Relationships for Black Women?

An interesting thing happened in yesterday’s post about ABC’s political drama Scandal.While most said they were excited for the show’s return to primetime, longtime reader and frequent commenter Val brought up another interesting dynamic.
Val wrote:
I predict that Kerry Washington’s character will never date a Black man on the show. Lol
Don’t get me wrong; I have no problem with IR 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. That’s really all I’m saying.
Her comment made me think.
When it comes to network TV, there is already a shortage of well-written black characters. Unlike the ‘90s and early 2000s, sitcoms and dramas featuring African American casts just don’t exist anymore. So is it merely coincidence that many of the interesting black female characters on TV today are paired with white men or is something deeper at play?
American TV isn’t the only one that often depicts (or promotes, considering who you ask) interracial couples. British TV is also rife with diverse coupling, often times paring a show’s black character with someone of another race. From Luther and to Dr. Who, to Misfits andTorchwood, interracial couples seem commonplace on UK television, while couples where both individuals are black are somewhat rare.
As our communities become increasingly diverse (read: brown), the images we see depicted in our media should reflect these changes.
But with the majority of black folks married to, and dating, each other, is the media trying to encourage interracial dating and mating? Or is the increased black/white/other coupling we see on some of network TV’s most popular shows merely a reflection of real life?

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