As a devoted TV lover, I consume immensely unhealthy amounts of TV. In the past couple of years, I’ve been thrilled to see interracial couples appear on TV, especially when not even ten years ago Will Smith couldn’t bang a white woman on the silver screen because apparently audiences weren’t ready for it.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the awakening I’ve been hoping for. With a precious few exceptions, the majority of interracial couplings on TV are a stepping stone, temps, or ways of showing off how totally not racist a character is by introducing an ex that isn’t white.
Is that progress? Well, at least they’re showing up at all now, so that’s something. There are now couples like Captain Holt and Kevin on Brooklyn 99, Jane and Brad from Happy Endings, Jasmine and Crosby from Parenthood, even Ricky and Lucy from I Love Lucy.
Meanwhile, the majority still fall into the former category. People are fawning over Jessica Jones and Luke Cage (who make an awesome duo), but with Cage getting his own show, we know there is nothing long term in store for those 2. Then there are shows like Scandal and Community that will just rotate love interests as often as a pair of socks, so any pairing is temporary. Unsurprisingly, shows featuring people of colour prominently seem better able to manage the mind blowing possibility of people of different heritages finding common ground.
I guess my issue with this is the implicit insinuation that interracial relationships are a phase. The white girl brings home a black man to scare her parents type thing. As if it can never be the end game, just a stepping stone to the real deal when she grows up and marries an accountant of the same faith and skin colour.
I think this is what people mean about not seeing themselves on the screen. It’s a bit like being told by a close family member (and who doesn’t feel that way about TV?) that your choices are invalid, that who they are is invalid.
And that sucks, because love is colour blind.
Well, time for some re-watching.