Interracial romance is everywhere!

10723__maggie_lUSA Today’s article on the upswing in the number of interracial romances on primetime TV — and the fact that small-screen scribes are, in many cases, not making an issue of characters’ skin color — raises some interesting questions:

Can color-blind casting change the way society reacts to mixed couples in real life? And how come some TV pairings raise more eyebrows than others? I’ll admit, I’ve never really thought about Cristina and Burke’s racial backgrounds on Grey’s Anatomy (let’s be honest — they’re the hottest couple on TV of any background) or Lost‘s Sayid and Shannon (left), but I was a little bit surprised to find that Rose’s tailie husband on Lost was white. And I’m not really sure why.

Then again, I’m in good company. L. Scott Caldwell, who plays Rose, tells the paper she was surprised when she met the actor who’d been cast as her spouse. "Because I didn’t know that Bernard was white, I was only playing a woman whose husband was missing and what that would be like. In my mind, I was using my real husband, who is 6-foot-5 and a black man. I was playing from my own reality," she says.

Either way, I’m just glad to hear the ridiculously sweet duo isn’t likely to fall victim to The Others, the island’s security system, or trigger-happy Ana-Lucia. Lost‘s executive producer Damon Lindelof let it slip to USA Today that Rose and Bernard’s backstory is likely to be explored in a future episode — but not before Season 3.


Comments (19 total) Add your comment
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  • Celeste

    “Can color-blind casting change the way society reacts to mixed couples in real life?”
    Yes, I think so. And I think the trick is to have interracial relationships which aren’t even identified as such. If it’s made an issue, people are consciously aware of it and start taking sides, getting defensive, etc. The more natural it seems in the media, the more easily people will accept it.

  • Nancy

    I don’t think that colour-blind casting will affect someone’s views in real life. It’s one thing to see Christina and Burke on Grey’s Anatomy, or Joy and Darnell on My Name is Earl (my favourite couple on tv, period) but if someone is a racist and an interracial couple moves next door to him/her, that person will have problems dealing with the situation. I’m only glad that the media is presenting it in a more natural way, instead of the old Very Special Episode approach.

  • T

    I agree with Nancy. I love the fact that shows are currently presenting interracial couples and not mentioning it. Most television shows in the past (including my beloved Scrubs) centered episodes around it, whether for comedy, social commentary, or both. However, I do feel that over time – maybe a really long time for some – that it can have an impact on the way society reacts. Many shows showing minorities in different realms of life like the Cosby Show did have an impact. Not overnight, but an impact all the same.

  • Lily

    My mom (white) dated a black man in the 70’s before marrying my dad (also white). She said that she and her boyfreind broke up because they couldn’t handle how people treated their inter-racial relationship. I’m in the same situation today, white woman dating a black man, and things are much easier, but they are not perfect, we still get stared at alot. I’m glad to see more interracial couples on TV. With time people might be more and more tolerable with it.

  • Kaybar

    I believe that TV has advanced remarkably in this respect. Remember the Star Trek episode in the sixties when Kirk and Uhura were telekinetically forced to kiss? Remember the brouhaha that was raised because of that? Thank God we’ve advanced beyond that point, at least. I, for one, appreciate the fact that the interracial aspect of some couples on TV are not even mentioned on the shows.
    Unfortunately, the point made by a former poster is also true: color-blind casting will, in no way, change the opinions of the true racist. But, who cares about them, anyway?

  • EP Sato

    A lot of sci fi in the 60’s and 70’s viewed the world of tomorrow as one where people of all backgrounds would live together. For some reason, this sort of ensemble casting died out in the 80’s and has come back recently. Truth is that interacial relationships have been around for a long time, even on tv, but it’s been a long time since they’ve been treated as they should be, as relationships.
    I am glad to see that some shows are working to have minority characters, and that they are allowing the actors who portray these characters to explore them and give them depth. We’ve gone a long way since the days of the black sidekick who gets killed in the first fifteen minutes of the show, but we still got a looooong way to go.

  • Lene

    Absolutely! Developing tolerance on both an individual and a social level is all about exposure in a normalized way. I use a wheelchair and in areas/countries where people with disabilities are participating in the community like everyone else, I don’t get stared at as much. I would imagine the same would be true for interracial couples. Now if the media would just start portraying disabled people as something other than victims or saints, I’d be happy. Oops… this was about interracial romances, right? Sorry about hijacking the soapbox. ;)

  • Greicy

    I’m actually surprised there aren’t more inter-racial couples on tv. It’s going to be 2006 in a few days, it’s not the 1950’s and we are supposedly a more un-prejudiced society. In the UK they have inter-racial couples everywhere!
    But all-in-all I am happy that they are finally showing inter-racial couples. It’s like a revolution of sorts. :)

  • Wendy

    I think when two people of ethnic backgrounds get together it’s not viewed as that controversial because I think the public/media doesn’t really view it as an interracial couple-both–parties are “minorites”. (I’m African American)
    I think when a black person is with a white person on tv(Lost)–or real life, it will usually raise more attention (the fact a character mentioned Rose and her husband on Lost–nothing was mentioned about Sayeed’s relationship). I think black people are viewed differently than other people of color and when coupled with white people for whatever reasons it makes more of an impact.
    On Lost, Walt’s mother is married to a white man (she looks biracial so maybe subconciously the issue is dismissed because she is not dark therefore not really viewed as “that black”–she can assimilate–as a black person, the lighter you are, the less ethnic/black/threatening you appear to be)–so there are interracial couples all up and through that show, but people seem to focus on the race of Rose’s relationship. Interesting.
    I don’t think the media will change the public. I don’t think the media is changing fast enough. There are no black shows on CBS, ABC, or NBC. They are all saved for UPN–U People’s Network.

  • Poon Dogg

    mixed couples are hardly new, there was a mixed white\black couple who were regulars on The Jeffersons way back in the 70’s. I don’t see any big deal, after all if you remove a centimeter of skin, everyone is the same color underneath. I do agree with the guys comments about the disabled though, you only see them as victims or saints, never as just ordinary people. Then there is the fat guy, who can only be a rather stupid clown that’s the comic relief. Let people be people! Sometimes the fat guy gets the girl, sometimes the disabled are evil rotten people. No preconcieved molds that a particular body type/disability/race must fit.

  • Adrianna

    would love to see more black women on tv paired off with men from other ethnic background. Sometimes all you see is black men paired off with non black women. It seems not to be a problem anywhere else but here in the US

  • Adrianna

    would love to see more black women on tv paired off with men from other ethnic background. Sometimes all you see is black men paired off with non black women. It seems not to be a problem anywhere else but here in the US

  • Adrian

    I am from the generation who grew up with the Emmet Till murder, nation-wide race riots, and racial stereotyping on a global scale. The impact of the imagry (primarily in films during that period) of an interracial couple cannot be overstated. It was HUGE! I can remember when the POSSIBILITY of seeing a black man and a white woman kiss on screen was enough to make the movie a box office hit. Television, because of its more intimate interaction upon the viewer’s psychology, will ultimately have more of an impact on society. The viewing audience will become more comfortable with interracial interaction due to the quantity of examples presented and the quality of the programming. We’ve come a long way from Kirk and Uhura’s forced kiss, and our society will become more accustomed to the normalcy of these relationships with each passing generation. Personally, I would like to see more interracial unions between non-white couples from various cultural backgrounds. I believe whites and blacks “get it” at this point. I think there is a continuing prejudice exhibited within different non-white racial groups that needs to be explored and presented through the media.

  • Black Women Dating

    Black Women Dating


  • Cricket Mosby

    I recently found a great book by an interracial romance author named Latrivia Nelson who wrote a fabulous book on interracial dating called Ivy’s Twisted Vine. It’s really hard to sum the novel up in one paragraph, but she hits the nail on the head. I agree that interracial dating and marriage is more than race, and this book does a good job of proving our points. I found myself forgetting about the color line and wanting to know more about their situation because it wasn’t shoved down your throat. She knows about the topic too because it’s a part of her life. I ran across it at Barnes and Noble and haven’t shared it with anyone.

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