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 pairing a show’s black character with someone of another race. From Luther and to Dr. Who, to Misfits and Torchwood, 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?

Speak on it folks!

203 Comments

  1. I actually like that they’re in interracial relationships. Maybe it’s not believable for the 30 and up audience but it’s reality for the 20s and under women. I know I’ve been in several interracial relationships and a few of my close girl friends as well. I prefer seeing black women with white, latino, or asian men in TV shows because it makes me feel like “yes black women can be desired by other men besides black men and they don’t have to be light skinned to be seen as attractive.” Black women are always paired with black men. That’s like the default relationship. I don’t always want to see a black woman with a black man. I do love seeing black love and black men loving, respecting, and treating their black women like a special gift but most of these black women are light skinned. So it doesn’t really tell me anything special.

    I’m light skinned too but I get tired of seeing light skinned women always with dark skinned men. It’s always the same thing with them. When I see that they’re the same color or in the same social class, then it doesn’t feel like it’s a colorism issue. Single Ladies had plenty of IR in the show that I was fine with. The white girl with the black guy wasn’t special to me because that guy was corny and a loser and I thought she could’ve had someone better. Denise’s character, I liked her in most of her couplings except Romeo lol. And LisaRaye’s couples were good too. I like Tamar and Vince because they’re not like a traditional couple. But yes, I love seeing black women in interracial relationships on TV. But I also like to see them in relationships with other black men where it doesn’t make me feel like the man is with them only because of their hair texture, skin color, or beauty only.

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    • Sadly Hollywood has a fascination with the racially ambiguous fair skinned woman. A woman not quite White, but certainly not Black enough to “offend”. Unfortunately, for many Black men these examples now represent their ideal.

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    • Chillyroad

      @Jess

      You mentioned on this post that white men, in your opinion, have a greater appreciation for naturally haired, dark skinned black women with ethnic features. Now you are saying Hollywood has a fascination with racially ambiguous fair skinned women.

      Your rhetorical trick of using dubious terms like Hollywood, the media or society arent lost on me. Hollywood is white men. The media is white men and society is white men. Now if they have a fascinaiton with fair skinned women then they cant also have a greater appreciation for dark, natural ethnic looking black women.

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    • @ChillyRoad, I think you’re getting confused because Clutch is posting comments from more than one commenter named “Jess”, myself included

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    • Chillyroad

      @Jess

      My bad, honey.

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