Hollywood's Racial Representation in Film and TV Industry

Posted by Leticia, 29 May

"Even though there is more diversity of different kinds of pairings, such as interracial and multiethnic couples, the optics are just one part of the story" – Theodore-Vachon, 2021

Over the past few years, minority representations, multiethnic, and interracial couples are becoming more common and often overlooked. For example, before 1967, when the Supreme Court held a case legalizing interracial relationships, they were considered abnormal and illegal. Whereas now they are celebrated.

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To be an interracial couple means to be two people of different ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. Statistics show that the percentage of interracial couples across the US increases in adult relationships and among youths. In addition, statistics show that 1 in 10 people in the US is married to a person of a different race.

Is Hollywood actually including interracial couples?

Not that long ago, it would be weird and unusual to see an interracial couple and black characters work with white characters in Hollywood films and shows, the movies tried not to show them, and TV shows would try to keep them to a minimum. But, in this day and age, pop culture shows more racial diversity in the film and TV industry and leading roles, not just supporting roles!

The increase of interracial couples in Hollywood films and TV shows has affected real-life couples! The more people prefer interracial dating sites such as Interracial Dating Central, the more people want to see such diversity in pop culture and vice versa.

Nowadays, since more and more people embrace and accept interracial couples, it is no surprise that they have started receiving better representation in the media.

Interracial couples in the film and TV industry

Movies: Get Out, Alfie, Guess Who, Focus, Hitch, The Bodyguard.

TV Shows: Bridgeton, Modern Family, The Walking Dead, The Flash, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Vampire Diaries, How to Get Away With Murder.

These are just a few of the many interracial relationships represented in Hollywood studios. But is the way that Hollywood represents them correct?

Hollywood's Hidden Agenda

Since interracial marriages and relationships are rising, people anticipate and expect to see them more in the media, film, and TV industries. But one thing that film executives and TV executives need to understand is that portraying an interracial couple in their Hollywood film or TV series does not make them special.

Also, because they included an interracial couple does not mean that it is a solution to modern-day problems or that they understand the real-world issues these couples face.

More black actors and actresses need to have leading roles, not just black characters but also actors and actresses with diverse stories and backgrounds.

It is no lie that Hollywood always has a hidden agenda in its back pocket. So now that they have started involving more interracial couple storylines in TV shows and movies, are they doing it for the right reason? Or are they just representing them to make it seem like Hollywood is 'forward-thinking' and 'progressive'?

Hollywood Awards

It's only in recent years that we have seen black actors and actresses accept awards for their roles in movies and TV shows. But this has not always been the case. For example, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association failed to recognize people of different racial groups in various categories.

But for people of different racial groups to earn awards, they have to be given a chance to lead roles. Thanks to Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians, a report that took place examined 53,178 characters in 1,200 top films from 2007-to 2018 and found that only 27 movies had people of different ethnic and racial groups in leading and co-leading roles!

Even though there are films such as Black Panther and 12 Years a Slave that mostly has an all-black cast, Hollywood's structure remains the same, and just by releasing a few films like this, they hope that people would look away from the bigger picture. But unfortunately, Hollywood is still lacking in representing diverse stories.

Hattie McDaniel was the first actress of color to win an Oscar for best supporting actress in her famous role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939). To be clear, she played the role of an enslaved person, where she was Scarlet O'Haras's loyal slave and enjoyed life on the plantation. It seems as if Hollywood was yearning to celebrate the portrayal of a stereotype!

How does Hollywood represent interracial couples in the film industry?

Suppose we skip the few movies that portray black representation and interracial couples as usual and not as something forced. In that case, Hollywood follows a pattern when an interracial couple is in a film or TV show. Most of the time, the black actor in the interracial relationship is overly sexualized, portrayed as something' risqué,' and short-lived their relationship.

When Hollywood does depict interracial couples, they are usually short-lived and not that serious. Nadia Ramoutar, who wrote her doctoral dissertation in mass communications, said that "a man and a woman of different races in Hollywood movies have a greater statistical probability of dying than getting married or dating seriously."

After reading this article, you will probably start seeing a pattern once you compare the differences between same-race and interracial couples. First of all, you will notice the difference between how both are being portrayed. You will see a significant difference because Hollywood has always been considered biased and racist towards people of color. The representation of interracial couples now is still regarded as racist.

Hollywood did not quite comprehend the correct way to represent interracial couples. So it seems as if they decided to include them in their movies and TV shows and hope for the best. In comparison, the representation of white actors and actresses and same-race couples have plenty of complexity and background.

When will Hollywood understand?

Sometimes it feels like Hollywood forces interracial couples into scenarios to make them seem inclusive and go with the flow. But it doesn't seem that they understand that people can tell the difference when an interracial couple is included in the script rather than forced to be there for inclusivity.

Hollywood needs to understand that they do not deserve a pat on the back or be praised whenever they include an interracial couple in their films and shows.

We hope that interracial couples and minorities start to be depicted as any other couple or actor since they are, after all, normal!

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