Stereotypes and Interracial Marriages
Stereotypes and Interracial Marriages
Stereotypes and Interracial Marriages
Based on the issues that encompassed race in the United States, interracial marriages are still new agreeable concepts within the modern society. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, interracial relationships were unacceptable based on the stringent laws that had been put in place in order to discard such associations. Additionally, individuals engaging in such relations, if found, were subjected to legal and social repercussions. Various decrees such as the Jim Crow regulations segregated the disparate ethnicities and races in America and as such, it would have been deviant to act against such laws. However, with the push for racial equality and the introduction of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, interracial relationships have increased throughout America with people from different races engaging in social, marital, business and romantic relationships. In addition to this significant social change, the media has also assumed a considerable role in documenting and disseminating the reality of interracial relationships positively and negatively.
Impact of Television Shows on Stereotypes and Interracial Dating
Indeed, does television operate for the sole objective of eradicating common stereotypes? This query has become a rather common thing asked by several individuals in relation to the media’s portrayal of different racial groups within America. Even though television possesses the ability to portray every individual in equal regard, one cannot fail to notice the fallacy of this statement. Numerous times, television shows, especially sitcoms and news, primarily reinforce the stereotypes associated with different racial cohorts through the manner in which the minorities are portrayed. In addition to this, the roles that the characters assume on several comedic and dramatic sitcoms further assist in the dissemination of a myriad of stereotypes depending on the character’s representation of a particular minority. With these portrayals taking place on a regular basis, minorities have endured discrimination based on the way they are depicted via television shows.
The issue of on-screen depiction further contributes to the obstacles limiting interracial marriage from being completely tolerable throughout the American society. Even though relationships between different racial groups have increased since the repeal of the Jim Crow regulations and the ruling in Loving v. Virginia (Qian, 2010), the practice has not been accepted fully. Part of the major reason for this is due to the stereotypes consistently disseminated by television shows concerning other racial groups in the United States. However, as more television shows continue to establish interracial relationships, the American society has become considerably lenient towards relations between members of different races. This is according to the increase in marriages between minorities and white Americans. Notably, Qian (2010) asserts that matrimonial relationships between African Americans and white Americans increased over fivefold between 1970 and 2000. Despite this increase throughout the country, some Americans remain apprehensive of the respective issue especially in relation to their families.
Stereotypes and Interracial Dating in Modern Television Shows
As asserted, the media has assumed a considerable dating in the distribution of stereotypes concerning disparate minorities in America. These stereotypes have also been centered on the interracial relationships that the main character has with people who are outside his or her racial background. The first show, Black-ish, is a fair illustration of the stereotypes that television shows advance via their depiction of minorities as well as major racial groups. Accordingly, Black-ish revolves around the life of a successful African-American man who attempts to discover his cultural identity and at the same time, change the ways of living that his family has adopted, which he deems as being “too white”. In overall, the sitcom illustrates the challenging relationship that the character and his African American relationship possess with the predominantly middle class White setting that he and his family occupy.
The main male character, Andre Johnson, seems to be fixated on delivering his family from the influence of the white surroundings. Commonly addressed by his moniker ‘Dre’, the protagonist tries as much as possible to ensure that his family lives by African American values rather than those portrayed by his white colleagues and neighbors. Even though the show is a sitcom, one cannot miss the stereotypes portrayed throughout the show in relation to the protagonist. For instance, Andre conveys that African Americans only play basketball, which is the only game they are good at, according to him. However, his son becomes interested in field hockey to which he expresses his dismay. For him, the respective sport does not signify ‘black’ and as such, disappoints him significantly.
Rob is also another example of a favorite television show. The program revolves around the main character as he deals with the impact that his marriage to a Mexican-American woman imposes on his social life. Rob, as the main character, unlike Black-ish’s Andre Johnson, is welcoming of this racial difference and attempts considerably to woo the family of his wife, Maggie, who do not have affection for him. Even though Rob tends to make stereotypical jokes, he does this innocently based on his consistent need to establish a positive relationship with his wife’s family. However, aside from the comments made by the main character, his wife’s Mexican family also propels the dissemination of stereotypes directed specifically at the Hispanic people. For instance, the grandmother to Maggie has a shrine dedicated to Jesus within the confines of her own bedroom.
Lastly, Big Bang Theory is also set aside as a favorite show due to its comical effect. Accordingly, the show involves five main characters who center and maintain their relationship around the scientifically related interests. One of the main characters, Raj Koothrappali, strongly brings out the racial element of the show based on his Indian background. Similar to other protagonists, Raj is a genius who also possesses interests related generally to science. This stereotype further reinforces the perception that all Indians are prodigies in technological and mathematical areas. Additionally, his character is unable to interact socially and confidently with members of the opposite sex. This usually influences the women to ask him as to whether he speaks English. This stereotype further establishes the notion that Indians as well as Asiatic-based persons are unable to speak in English despite living in America.
Based on these example television shows, it is difficult to miss out the myriad of racial stereotypes spread to American viewers. In addition to this, these stereotypes are largely different depending on the form of race that the characters occupy throughout the shows. In Black-ish, racial stereotypes are mainly centered on the culture of African Americans and the tension between them and the white majority. The fact that basketball is deemed as a black man’s sport by the main character illustrates the disparity in stereotypes among the three television shows. Rob also depicts this disparity based on its depiction of Mexican families. For instance, the presence of a shrine set aside for Jesus in the bedroom of Maggie’s grandmother coincides with the religious stereotype that most people assert for Mexicans and most South Americans. The character, Raj, further differentiates these stereotypical disparities, based on the traits that he exudes in relation to his racial background. His inability to speak to women as well as how they view him indicate labels based on linguistic incapacities for the race he represents in the show.
In relation to Rob, one cannot help notice that interracial marriage is still considered a taboo despite the increase in such relations throughout America. According to Qian (2010), numerous white Americans have this perception due to the notions that they associate with interracial marriage. Indeed, most of them remain apprehensive of this particular issue. For these individuals, interracial relationships are not ideal for their families. The prevailing status quo seems to be the main reason as to why interracial marriage is perceived as a taboo. In short, such people are unwelcoming of the changes that interracial marriages will impose on their families, their income, their children, their culture and the manner in which the different race is discriminated against or perceived by the society (Qian, 2010). As such, they express their disapproval of these relationships especially within their particular relationships. This phenomenon also explains why intermarriage rates are much lower among African Americans in comparison to Asians and Hispanics. Interestingly, African Americans tend to experience prejudice than the aforementioned groups (Qian, 2010).
In conclusion, it is still difficult to control the advancement of racial stereotypes via television shows. Regardless, it is evident that the relationship among different racial groups has continued to develop not only in a social way, but also in a marital manner. Arguably, the rate of interracial relationships has grown considerably since the 1970s. Irrespective of this, African Americans continually face low intermarriage rates due to the high tendency of discriminatory practices against them. Aside from this, uncontrollable factors such as immigration may also reduce increase in intermarriages for Asians and Hispanics due to expansion within marriage pools for the natives as more immigrants arrive in the country. With such factors in mind, it still becomes impossible to view the alarming rate at which interracial marriages are taking place contemporarily.
Qian, Z. (2010). Breaking the last taboo: Interracial marriage in America. In A. J. Cherlin (Ed.), Public and private families (pp. 124-129). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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