From Criminalization To Representation

In more recent years, advertisers have been nudged to create worlds that look more like the ones that we live in every day. What that means is they’ve had to learn how to color using all the colors in the Crayola box. In 2020 we can turn on our screens to see a Black woman lovingly smiling at an Asian man, while their biracial child eats a big bowl of whole-grain American cereal. It’s easy to see that the world is changing.

Off-screen we are seeing more and more couples entering into interracial relationships. It seems to be that we have come a long way in accepting the idea that love is love; but have we?

The Crime Of Interracial Marriage

The fact that miscegenation (the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, or procreation) was a crime within our grandparent’s lifetime, is shocking and deeply racist. Governments who criminalized interracial love include Nazi Germany, Apartheid South Africa and the United States. Other Anti-Miscegenation adjacent laws could be found throughout the world.  The 2016 film Loving famously portrayed Richard and Mildred Loving’s real-life fight to simply live their lives and raise their children. Mildred was an African American woman and Richard, a Caucasian man, who took the state to the Supreme Court and won their landmark case, wiping away decades of anti-miscegenation laws.

The Lasting Effects Of Anti-Miscegenation Laws

While western nations have outlawed this systemic discrimination against interracial relationships, the effects of criminalization still lingers, and serves to justify an intolerance for miscegenation. According to The Siegel Institute Journal of Applied Ethics, older generations have lived through an era where romantic interracial relationships were forbidden; they also grew up thinking it was unacceptable and immoral.

Importance Of Portraying Interracial Relationships In The Mass Media

Those living in non-homogenous countries and cities see interracial couples in our daily lives. Whether we champion their love, or fear what it means to our homogeny, we cannot be willfully ignorant of their existence. For those who live in more segregated environments, the portrayal of interracial coupledom in mass media can play a role in building acceptance.  According to a study conducted by Wesleyan University, The more present interracial relationships… were in the media, the more likely it was that you’d be more accepting towards the idea. Conversely, you’d be less accepting of interracial romantic relationships if it wasn’t as prevalent in the media.

Exploring What It Means To Be In An Interracial Couple In 2020

Let’s be clear, there is only one human race, but within that race there are innumerable amounts of cultures and ethnicities. Our cultures in large parts, form who we are; they are a source of pride. The more integrated our societies become, the more respect and tolerance we see around us. This leads to an increase in interracial coupledoms. This mosaic adds to the richness of our human experience.  Here is a list of videos that documents the nuances of merging cultures:

●      Multicultural Couples Debate On Raising Their Children

●      What Happens When Interracial Couples Get Real About Stereotypes

●       Couples Share the Happiness and Heartache of Interracial Marriage

●      Interracial marriages: Expressing love in the face of prejudice

●      The Highs And Warships Of Interracial Marriage And Raising A Mixed Child

Representation That Is Here To Stay

It is encouraging to see networks and advertisers representing love that is not defined by skin tone. They can trust their audience enough, to not get distracted by the fact that the leads come from different cultures. It is important that this change is a permanent one, and not simply something bigwigs have been pressured into doing for the moment.  While our anti-discrimination laws have led to behavioural changes, which is reflective of more interracial coupling today, it is important to note that these changes have only started within the last 60 years. We have a long way to go in order to achieve wholescale attitudinal and institutional changes. Until then, these couples are still at the vanguard of an ongoing social movement.