Why depicting interracial couples in the media is important

Written by: Karina Jones

For years, representation of minorities in media has been a relevant topic discussed online, in collaborative spaces, and around family dinner tables. The general arguments for why representation is important in a broad sense are all well-known; people should feel seen in the movies and TV shows they watch, people should be exposed to those different from them through the content they consume, etc. However, there are more specific topics within this idea that are less popularly discussed. One of these is the importance of depicting interracial couples on TV and in movies, both in stories centered on romance and in other contexts.

Nearly all of the most iconic romantic movies feature a white man and a white woman falling in love. These titles include When Harry Met Sally, Titanic, The Notebook, and more. Movies that don’t star two white leads often show a romance between two black people (Tyler Perry movies), two Asian people (Crazy Rich Asians) and so on. There is nothing wrong with these types of movies, it is also important to show love between people within the same minority groups. However, there are reasons why showing couples that are specifically mixed race are important.

Some people in older generations, across every race, hold the toxic idea that their children and grandchildren should “date within their race,” some even insisting that their childrens’ significant others be of the same nationality as them. When ideas like this are repeated to people at a young age, they believe them to be normal and may grow up to restrict themselves on who they can fall in love with. If young people are exposed to interracial couples in the TV shows and movies they watch they may be able to move past this toxic ideology on their own and open themselves up to love from people of all races.

In addition to encouraging people to be open in who they date, depicting interracial couples both in stories of love and stories not centered around a romance allows the children of mixed couples to feel seen. Many bi or multiracial kids grow up feeling out of place or abnormal, and this feeling may be alleviated if the shows they and their friends watch included families like their own.

Here is a list of movies and TV shows featuring at least one interracial couple:

Grey's Anatomy

Jane the Virgin

The Flash

Modern Family

The Vampire Diaries

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Love, Simon

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