Interracial relationships haven’t been something accepted in America for a long time at all. It was only legalized about 50 years ago with the landmark Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case, during which a Black woman and a white man took their wedding vows in Washington, D.C., but then moved to Virginia, a state that banned interracial marriage.
Due to this law, the couple was indicted by a grand jury four months into the marriage, and they were forced to move back to the place where they had taken their vows to avoid another year of imprisonment. Luckily, when the couple appealed to the Supreme Court, the case overturned the conviction and struck down the law in Virginia.
Fifty years ago is not that long ago. There are people still alive who very well remember interracial marriage illegalization. However, that being said, there has still been progress with the general public’s perception of interracial couples. Well, most interracial couples.
The media has played a big role in this with movies like “The Big Sick”, “The Incredible Jessica James” and even the newest heartwarming romantic comedy “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”. TV shows like “The Flash”, “Scandal” and “How To Get Away with Murder” have also featured interracial couples as main plot points. However, do you notice a pattern with these forms of media?
These are all some of the most popular movies and TV shows, yet all feature a person of color and a white person. It’s never two interracial people of color who come together. In fact, there seems to be more positive representation in mainstream pop culture of a white person with a person of color than even two people of color from the same background together!
To give one example of many, Aziz Ansari got our hopes up in the first episode of the second season of “Master of None” when he found a Black woman he was romantically interested in. However, he lost his phone and as a result communication with her forever. Of course, he proceeded to fall in love with a white Italian woman, and not without the periodic flux of interest and disinterest in the South Asian woman who appeared within the season.
There’s always an edge of fear and controversy of calling this out. Interracial couples and friendships that are a white person and a person of color aren’t negative by any means, and calling this disparity out doesn’t imply they are bad in any way. They should still be encouraged — it’s just that there needs to be more romantic and even platonic representation of what two different non-white cultures look like together. Hollywood has been making great strides in diversity lately, but as with any institution mainly founded by people with privileged identities, there is unsurprisingly always room for improvement.