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Where's the Interracial Diversity in Commercials?

Updated on March 2, 2019

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

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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    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Northern California

      Very true :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      If they wanted the commercials to be real. Wouldn't they all be over weight and unable to buy there crap?

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Northern California

      haha, i was thinking when I saw someone had posted on this Hub that they would mention how there is more diversity! Yes, this was posted some time ago :) Thanks for coming by though!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      On second thoughts, I am writing this in 2013 and don't know when this was posted. We've come a long way in representing people of all different sexualities, colour, nationalities etc. As long as it's done tastefully it's a great thing. I'd personally like to see more Asian mixed couples on TV because it's usually just black and white, but I see more Chinese/other couples in daily life

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You have to be joking! Around 80% of couples on TV adverts now are multiracial. Even though our population is mostly white. I don't like it because it seems really 'Look how multicultural friendly our company is. Even if we only fit bath tiles'. And I think offering 'token' people of ethnicity is a bit insulting

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      all i wanna know is what % of US population is inter-race vs. the tv version of the same %?

    • pelt545 profile image


      9 years ago from Hampton Roads, VA

      You rarely see minorities on television and other media. So, I know that biracial/multiracial people are not going to be shown that much or at all.

      What a shame.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      well first not many people marry those outside their race, according the census less than 5% do, so why cater to the strange weirdo who do this? its very offensive to 95% of the rest of us who know its wrong and dysfunctional. most of the people who do interracial have mental problems and delusions. like the white guy who dates outside his race because he dose not treat women right in his own race and whites women put up with him. or all the asian females looking for the status of white partner. or controlling men getting their women in the 3rd world so they can control them like prisoners. whenever i see a partnership like it screams weirdness and dysfunction. why put that in commercial, no one wants to see it. its not attractive cool or desired.

      and for the record diversity and multiculturalism dose not work, never has never will, its wrong. let all the races separate and keep to themselves in their own nations, if a races fails or dose not thrive its up to themselves maybe they should be extinct.

      hatred for other races ends when they are not in your own homeland. let separate now, its how it is supposed to be.

    • profile image

      Asian Male Revolutions 

      11 years ago

      I find it a bit sickening how the author of this article harps on about her idea of "so-called" diversity, when she's obviously chin-deep in self-loathing:

      "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)."

      ^ Ok, so get this - the author is your typical Asian chick who does nothing but white guys, and would rather sleep with a dead skunk than an Asian male. And that gives her what kind of authority to talk about "diversity"? I think I just tasted some of my own vomit.

      It's really typical, and above all, CLICHÉ!

      In the mind of the average American dolt, "diversity" consist of nothing BUT the following:

      Asian girls sleeping with white men,

      ... and black men sleeping with white women.

      ^ Such racist nonsense. If you have the gall and the nerve to celebrate yourselves as some shining example of progressivism, take a moment to consider why only CERTAIN race/gender combinations are allowed to prosper and spread, while others are systematically oppressed.

      If any of you readers want to know and understand what REAL DIVERSITY is about, please check out this article (or click my URL):

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      12 years ago from Ohio, USA

      A commercial is, by definition, a paid advertisement sponsored by a private company. The level of diversity the sponsor elects to depict is a function of the target audience for the product being marketed.

    • TheLoanConsultant profile image


      12 years ago from Orange County

      I have to disagree with Sally's Trove about interracial relationships being taboo in the advertising world. What information is there to support that conclusion? Here's my opinion. Advertisement firms are experts in using the power of suggestion. And although they should focus their efforts on selling products I detect racist undertones constantly. Notice that whenever you do see an interracial couple in a commercial it's always a caucasian male with a female from another race. This has nothing to do with selling products. The implication is, "You can date out of your race as long as it's with a caucasian." You don't believe me, check it out for yourself. Another great hub. What a keen eye you have!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Interracial dating has been around the world for centuries, UnitedStatesofAmerica is a special situation, where many have been trying to maintain the old traditions of power.

      If these traditions are passing away it's because of liberal politics and media taking action around in the last decades. (never been so before)

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      13 years ago from Northern California

      I agree by all means; interracial dating increases by the generation, as the data I presented shows. It just doesn't seem like biracial couples are represented adequately, considering their present numbers

    • marvdiggity profile image


      13 years ago from New Jersey

      I don't know about you guys, but all I see is interracial couples all over Rutgers. Even I myself don't mind dating "Other colors of the rainbow"

      In all honesty if you look at the generations, you'll probably find that the more younger the generation, the more interracial couples you'll find. This is probably because the older generations are more focused on keeping the traditions. As you get closer to the more younger americanized generation you'll probably see there's probably more of a bigger trend. So it could really be something that's bound to change as the generations pass. Who knows really?

    • glassvisage profile imageAUTHOR


      13 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks you to all of you for your comments. I hoped to open up discussion on this. Bob, I'm not even going to try and pretend that I know what you're talking about :( I guess I don't know enough about it to respond well. I'm sorry.

      Aya, your points are always so thoughtful and important. It's true that it's harder to tell the ethnicities of models and such because yes, lighter skin is considered more desirable than darker skin, and so on... I think you might be right that advertisers are trying to appeal to a broader audience, thus avoiding including peoples on further ends of the spectrum.

      And yeah, interracial relationships are considered taboo in many cultures... apparently America as well!

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      13 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Advertising has never taken up the baton to support a controversial social dynamic such as interracial marriage and adoption (except for the nice and sometimes important AdCouncil public service ads, which are free of any client sponsorship). The first job of advertising is to take the pulse of the culture and return the best possible dollars to clients based on the pulse. The second job of advertising is to condition the market to continue to buy from clients.

      In America, that pulse is same race, heterosexual family, sex, and style trends. It's been that way since the 1950s.

      Interracial relationships are still considered taboo in the American advertising world. Why? Because most Americans are more than uncomfortable with anything less than white on white or black on black. Discomfort does not sell product.

      This is a great Hub. Maybe it will let some people think about what they swallow every day when they see some harried mom wiping up her floor with cleaning product because her perfect white (or black) boys dragged their hockey teams through her kitchen.

      Thumbs up.

    • roberwat profile image


      13 years ago from Winfield, Alabama, USA

      Good Point!

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 

      13 years ago from The Ozarks

      Bobgnote, which illegal invasion of Palestine do you mean? Are we talking about the British or the Turks? Did you know that the fellahin and the Zionists share the same DNA? The people of the land are the ones who weren't driven out during the various conquests of Palestine. The people  who came back are their brothers.

      Glassvisage, I haven't seen many interracial couples in advertising, but I've noticed something else which I think is interesting. At least in magazines, the racial divisions seem less distinct, because it's really hard to tell what race any of the models are. Are they white or hispanic or Asian or black? They choose people with darker hair and skin and less distinct eyefolds, so they could be anything.

      Maybe this is a way to include everybody.

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      This hub gives a wide perspective of humanity to think and act beyond segmentations like race ,culture etc.People have always kept boundaries as a nation,as a race etc ,etc but when people think and act with out boundaries they can be in communion with the infinite power and also get guidance from that power.Very few people can attain this level. Muraleedharan

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      Great Hub and great point , I`m Irish and my wife`s from Argintina and from a selfish point of view I would love to have her pernament Tan LOL !!!!! and her perfect gift of spellllling tooo:)


    • Jerry G2 profile image

      Shane Dayton 

      13 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

      Good hub, and I'm glad to see people pointing out the obvious. It does seem really insulting to see a commercial, and you're waiting for the token African American couple after a token white couple, etc. Very good topic and great job of bringing attention to this!

    • MasonsMom profile image


      13 years ago from U.S.A.

      You make a very valid point here~ I agree!


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