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Where's the Interracial Diversity in Commercials?

Updated on February 28, 2022

Why don't more commercials include biracial couples and/or families? What about adopted children? Interracial and intercultural marriage are all around us today... the majority of the couples I know are of different backgrounds. In fact, the percentage of interracial marriages increased from 0.7 percent in 1970 to nearly 5 percent in 2000, according to the United States census... that's 2,669,558 interracial marriages eight years ago. Though 5 percent may not seem like a lot, remember that not everyone answers truthfully to these things. Just look around!

And yet all we see on commercials are couples - and families, for that matter - of just one race. Tolerance of interracial couples may have increased, but you wouldn't know it from watching TV or reading a magazine. It sort of annoys me every time there is a commercial for Viagra or EHarmony with couples only of one (apparent) race, and a succession of them for that matter!

I guess I can say this coming from an interracial family. My parents are both White (Heinz 57s) while my brother and I are South Korean. Every boyfriend I've had has been something other than Asian, or else they were biracial (I really can't say why).

However, they are usually of the same skin color, especially my Asian friends. Chinese and Japanese, Filipino with Korean... there are lots of combinations I see around me. It's more socially acceptable (though I'm not saying that's why they're together... it's just easier).

I find biracial families should be represented because while they may be smaller in number, they face more struggle for that reason. It's difficult for people to adopt children of another race, especially if they are White and their children are of a minority race, because they have a harder time understanding the perils children encounter due to their skin color. It is true that sometimes people are judged and scrutinized for dating someone of another race. Look at how the media treats biracial couples! If a black person brought home a White person for Thanksgiving, how do you think the family would act out the response? Not favorably, most of the time.

I also think it's realistic, and perhaps a step in the right direction. What with divorce and remarriage, adoption, and other nontraditional family combinations, there are many ways a biracial couple or family can come together, and it happens all the time, whether or not it's reported in the census or not (BTW, the census considers Asians marrying Asians as a single-race couple, no matter what specific ethnicities are involved). I don't think people should be encouraged to only date people of their race or color, but the media and society seem to be doing just that.

I think that biracial or intercultural families are beautiful. It brings together a wealth of cultural practices, which helps strengthen the culture, while breaking down the color barrier. Sure, it's pretty interesting when a bloodline remains of one color and race, but I think it's overrated.

I can imagine that it might be confusing to consumers to have two people of two different colors in an ad (Are they married? What message are you sending?). However, if we start now, then that could change, and it will be easy for people to determine the relationship between two people, no matter what their races are, because of the way they act, not because of their ancestry.

Cheerios commercial

Cheerios commercial interview

Update: Cheerios Scandal!

I had written this Hub originally some time ago, and have gotten some comments about it being outdated and how there are many more commercials, advertisements, etc. that feature interracial couples and families.

According to the U.S. Census, mixed-race and mixed-ethnicity couples grew by 28 percent from 2000-2010, to 10% of all couples in the United States. I'm actually surprised that the number is so low. I feel like it is much less common for me to see couples comprised of people of the same ethnicity.

Interestingly enough, a new Cheerios commercial is stirring up some "controversy" with its fictional mixed-race couple and their daughter. The comments that the YouTube video had were so vitriolic that Cheerios disabled the ability to comment on the page. The video is to the right. I guess it will take longer than we thought to be truly comfortable with people following their hearts and building families along lines other than ethnicity.


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