Ditch the Black-and-White TV This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

February 4, 2010
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When Disney announced that it was going to make a movie featuring Disney's first African-American princess, there was great excitement. And even more exciting, the heroine of “The Princess and the Frog,” Princess Tiana, was to fall in love with her handsome frog prince, who was of mixed race. In fact, Disney purposely made the character of Prince Naveen racially ambiguous, hailing from the fictional country of Maldonia. The announcement received much praise and controversy. In 2010, everyday representation of biracial couples on TV and in cinema is long overdue. I believe that interracial relationships should be portrayed more often and more positively in today's media.

Interracial couples have become more common in today's society, and the media should reflect that. In 2005, Stanford University Sociologist Michael Rosenfeld calculated that out of 59 million ­couples in the United States, seven percent were interracial. Now, five years later, that number has increased significantly, but the media has yet to ­reflect that.

With the social changes happening in our world, movie and TV studios are in a prime position to portray happy interracial couples. Celebrities like Robert DeNiro, Halle Berry, David Bowie, Nicholas Cage, and George Lucas, who are or have been in relationships with people outside their race, show that interracial pairings are not taboo in Hollywood. So why hide it?

Multicultural relationships could add a whole new demographic to television and movies. In the 2005 movie, “Hitch,” Will Smith's character tries to win the affection of a successful Latina editor, played by Eva Mendes. Mendes, originally cast to prevent possible backlash from a black and white pairing, brought in a whole new audience. The movie was well received by all groups, including African-Americans and Latinos.

The media should take the lead in teaching society that dating outside one's race is perfectly acceptable. The younger generations seem much more comfortable with the issue of race. The February 2010 issue of Cosmopolitan reported that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050, minorities will make up a projected 53 percent of our population. It seems we have come to the point in our culture that race is no longer an issue. The media has a huge influence on our lives, how we think, and our actions. Television and movies are an opportunity to showcase interracial pairings in a positive light.

Some media outlets may be afraid that interracial relationships could raise eyebrows and start controversies. Racism still exists in our world. In a worst-case scenario, the media outlets could suffer as a result of their audience's reactions. Race is a very sensitive subject, and bringing special attention to it is risky – and media executives don't want risk.

But I believe that the fear of controversy should not stop progress. “Grey's Anatomy,” “True Blood,” “Friends,” “Girlfriends,” “Sex and the City,” “Heroes,” and “Supernatural” have become huge successes while portraying well-developed interracial couples. The media should not underestimate their audience and what they will accept.

The show “I Love Lucy,” which aired in the segregated 1950s, was a major success, despite quirky Lucy being married to Cuban bandleader Ricky Ricardo. Interracial relationships have not hurt the success of these shows nor will they in the future. The general public is becoming more ­accepting and so should the media.

Multicultural relationships should be part of our mass media. It is time that soap operas and Lifetime movies show multicultural couples dealing with the same ­issues as couples of the same race. My hope is that major media corporations will recognize the trend toward interracial relationships and reflect it in their shows and movies. We hear people speak of the United States as being the country of progress and acceptance. Ten years from now, I hope that interracial relationships will be commonplace in our society and our media. It will show ­future generations that love is, in fact, colorblind.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the October 2010 Teen Ink EBSCO POV Contest.

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This article has 13 comments. Post your own now!

nikkigonefishin said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 11:23 pm
Thank you for writing this. It is inspiring and fills me with strength. I am surprised at why people criticize interracial mariage and I think it is very immature for adults to do that. Thanks again^-^
ItzJustMi said...
Feb. 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm
This poem hit me hard and not in a negative way.  I'm a multi-racial teen and for the past 17 years i've always had someone say something about why is my mother white and my dad black, honestly to me color doesn't matter and it shouldn't matter to anyone else. Color is just a form of art.
Mtizzle said...
Feb. 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm
we do we define skin color as race we all are human no matter the skin color
T.R.Trevino said...
Apr. 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm
I think it's more a Hollywood mandate to satisfy the younger generation.
topper said...
Nov. 16, 2010 at 12:37 pm
7% interacial couples in America but I'm seeing a lot more than 7% in shows today.   Seems a Hollywood mandate to irritate we older people.
T.R.Trevino replied...
Apr. 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm
I think it's more a Hollywood mandate to satisfy the younger generation.
tanneris2 said...
Oct. 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm
Really like your points you made and your specific examples so you can really pinpoint where it is coming from and I really like you final line it was brilliant!
gege3211 said...
Oct. 11, 2010 at 10:18 am
i fill that thats right but most kids feel that black and white movies are good an entetainment and dont really care about this discrimination
Tyrinhart said...
Oct. 11, 2010 at 9:25 am
ppl now and days are confused about the old days, white ppl was mean 2 the black ppl and i really think its not cool cause ppl can go 2 the devil
JesusIsMyFortress said...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 6:05 pm
Oh. My. God. Can you PLEASE show me how you read my mind?! Because I swear, you must've read my mind, or something. I agree with you 110%! 
heatherjrock said...
Jul. 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm
Still have yet to see more Asian and Asian-American guys have believeable roles in hollywood...you ever notice an Asian or Asian-American guy get a sex scene with a non-Asian girl? Even Rain couldn't get a KISS with his non-Asian love-interest...it's great that more Latinos and African-Americans are doing the interracial parts, etc etc, but it's not fair on all levels by anystretch of the imagination.
stargirl<3 said...
Jun. 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm
i dont know about people in this day and age excepting inter racial relationships. im white and i have before dated two black guys in my past and have always dated boys that were hispanic, i see nothing wrong with it im a big believer that we are all the same in the  inside skin doesnt matter. now my curretn boyfriend whom ive been with for a year now is the first white guy ive ever dated and not only is he white but is very prugadice and same with his friends and family with people who are... (more »)
Saeeda Q. said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 7:22 pm
This was a very good article. And I believe that interracial relationships are being potrayed waaaay more than they were five years ago. I see them on TV a lot. And there is a slowbut sure rise on the movie screen. Valentine's Day HELLO?
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