Are we more comfortable with gay couples than with interracial couples?

Posted by Ria, 20 Dec

Interracial relationships are more than same sex ones. That's a fact. But as Alissa Henry noticed, same-sex couples seem to be enjoying a "disproportionately large amount of representation" on TV than interracial couples. In her words, "interracial couples are relatively nonexistent". Anyone pick up on that?

Apparently, much as there has been a major rise in interracial relationships, the media seems to have given them some form of black out. It's like in the world of TV and Hollywood, interracial relationships are a rare phenomenon. Henry says:

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"… the Pew Research Center reported that in 2010, one in twelve married couples were interracial… the percentage of interracial married couples in general rose to an all-time high of 8.4 percent. (Keep in mind that this data includes only married couples, not the growing segment of unmarried cohabiters.)

In contrast, Gallup found that 3.4% of adults say “yes” when asked if they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender... the number may not reflect reality because some are probably not willing to identify themselves as LGBT. Still, if every single person were truthful about their sexual orientation, would the percentage jump high enough to warrant the proliferation of gay couples in the media and the dearth of interracial couples?"

Henry also wants us to take note of the fact that the 3.4% LGBT are individuals; not couples. So this means if we were to couple these individuals, the percentage will definitely go down "…yet it’s hardly an exaggeration to say that nearly every new television show nowadays has a gay character," she adds.

She gives an example of ABCs TV series "Scandal" where the character Olivia Pope (played by a Black woman) has an affair with the President; Grant Fitz who is White. This fictitious relationship has caused a stir on blogs because its interracial. Some bloggers say this relationship is not believable. Seeing as Olivia is having a relationship with a married president, even fewer people are comfortable comparing it to the Monica Lewinsky-President Clinton affair. Reason: Purely racial.

In the same show, there is a relationship between this gay couple Cyrus and James. Much as 9 states in the U.S. are against gay marriage, are we seeing a similar kind of disapproval on social media as Olivia and Fitz’s interracial relationship? Hell to the NO! Does this mean people are more comfortable with homosexual relationships? Do producers give same-sex couples more screen time because America would rather see a gay couple on TV than an interracial one?

If the answer to the above questions is "YES", Henry thinks:

"Interracial couples would absolutely experience more support in real life if they were at least proportionately portrayed on television… Because this has been the experience of same-sex marriage… the lingering prohibition of gay marriage is part of the reason that gay couples are cast more than interracial ones. Unlike anti-miscegenation laws that were declared unconstitutional more than 40 years ago … gay marriage is still not legal across the country. So Hollywood producers, writers and directors have taken it upon themselves to make people more comfortable with the gay couples around them by showing more gay couples on television. Putting these relationships onscreen in high numbers isn’t about accurate representation. It’s about normalization."

Because of this media attention, today, people regard gay couples as very common. American's seem to believe 25% of America is LGBT. And this assumption may have largely been influenced by the representation of these couples on TV. If Hollywood was to make a point of show-casting loving, normal interracial couples (with less family and societal drama surrounding their relationships), do you think more people would finally consider them more common; normal?

Here is something interesting Henry points out:

"Even the emoticons on my iPhone illustrate ignorance of the truth that a person is more likely to love someone of a different race than they are to love someone of the same gender. The only “couple” emoticons choices are a White heterosexual couple or a White homosexual one. The emoticon creators haven’t even acknowledged Black iPhone users, yet they’ve got the White homosexuals covered. It is so bizarre."

5 responses to "Are we more comfortable with gay couples than with interracial couples?"

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  1.   TheCJ says:
    Posted: 07 Jan 13

    Thank God Its like I found a win win off this site. I'm thinking I seriously just found the one no joke OMG she has her own business, go's to college, has her own house, her own car, the personality that keeps me from getting off the phone until 3 a.m. sheeesh . . and nearly all the women I talk to and dating lately off here are successful, why?. Also, being someone that has been in that homo life style I can't understand why some chick can talk about homophobia .. . something you should embrace! Don't compare degenerate life-styles to a man and woman sorry . . pull the hate card out too, but that's not entirely true. Not everyone hates you if you are Gay. I used to be, but I am a Christian that managed to pull myself out of that life-style. Should love everyone period and not look down on anyone because we are all in need of a doctor.

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  2.   Happy_Girl says:
    Posted: 01 Jan 13

    We are a country that hides it's racism behind close door under boxes. We like to pretend that racism is a thing of the past and has on real impact on who we are today. Racism is a boogie man that people use to get their way. BUT we know there is real homophobia. We have to only read some of the post on this page to see that. It is something that all people wear on their shoulders like a badge of pride. Gay couples use this to point at the ugly wart. They say look at your hatred. It is real and live and here effecting our lives. NO one ever said you are playing the gay card.

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  3.   Brunsugah says:
    Posted: 27 Dec 12

    It does seem that we do see less interracial couples on screen than gay couples but in time that will change as times are changing. There was a time when a gay couple on screen was a big deal - now its just 'meh'. I love this. Personally speaking I don't care who people go out with... Let the love in & be happy. Life is way too short.

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  4. Posted: 27 Dec 12

    I agree. Its still a very racial thing. Being a primarily visual medium, to a point its understandable. But life mimics art as much as art mimics life. So as long as hollywood continues to perpetrate the white americans as the most "aesthetically pleasing" to look at for 26 or 52 minutes, the majority of america will agree. How many black casts have you seen that werent either comedy (martin, meet the browns, cosby) or negative drama (american gangster)? I do see more interracial couples on commercials these days which is a good sign, but the risk is a little less because instead of chasing advertising dollars, they ARE the advertising dollars, so they can produce the commercial they want. Also, they know most can tolerate 30 seconds of an interracial couple and not look negatively on the product.

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  5. Posted: 26 Dec 12

    I don't think America is so much more comfortable or even interested in seeing gay couples on TV or the big screen, then they are in seeing interacial couples. Like the artical says, its being constantly pushed and normalized. Thoes who run the media, producers, talent agencies, modeling agencies, magazine publishers etc.. seem - in my opinion, to come from a special educated guild of folks. What I mean is, they are not rocket scientist or, social sceintist or any kind of real intelectual thinkers, some may be creative, but really smart -No. From my experience they are racist. They have an idea in their mind of what a family is, and what America should look like, and who should love who, and that picture is of White people only, plain and simple. They can't and don't want to see anything else that does not look like what they think is right and what they grew up around. I've seen plently of Asian women and White men couples with kids in real life, but I have only seen one commercial ever, portraying this type of family. That seems really strange to me. You can ask these media types folks, if they whould rather see a brother or sister or child bring home a significant other of the same sex or a black person and you will be shocked at their answer- I've actually asked a few. I'd personally like to see more heterosexual interacial couples of any variety on tv, in ads and in movies. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and if they were gay I'd love them the same and accept them, but... as a heterosexual mom, I couldn't help but want a my son to bring home a girl and my daughter a boy no matter what race, its just how im wired nothing more.

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