Interracial Dating: Impact of Pop Culture and Media

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Jungle Fever

These edgy lyrics; “Brown sugar how come you taste so good? Mmm, brown sugar just like a black girl should. Aw, get down on your knees, brown sugar, how come you dance so good? Aw, get down on the ground, brown sugar just like a young girl should” written by the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, play on the sexual appeal and exoticification of black women in society. Gratifying sex with black women, Mick Jagger both teases and challenges the idea of a sexual relationship between a white man and black woman. With lyrics like this, the question of interracial relationships arises; although, the song illustrates how it is becoming more and more accepted in society, however, many may argue that this proves the stereotype of white men only pursuing African American women for sexual experience. Today, what seems as such a normal part of society was once one of the most controversial taboos of America? Interracial dating has become integrated in American pop culture so much that it is seen everywhere; in movies, t.v shows and in music. Interestingly enough, interracial dating is still perceived as controversial; going against the ideology of many conservative Americans. Regardless of how much ‘we’ promote diversity, how we depict African American women in the media creates these “stereotypes”, that affects interracial relationships amongst African American women and White men.

Back in the early 1900’s, Jim Crow laws prohibited marriage between ‘whites’ and ‘blacks’ in America, keeping them segregated. The Jim Crow laws were a set of rules, both local and national that restricted African American rights as American citizens. These laws prohibited integration between ‘whites’ and ‘blacks’ by segregating schools, restaurants, bus seats and prohibiting marriage. At the time marrying or even dating the opposite race was unlawful and immoral in America. Interracial dating, also know as miscegenation was extremely rare during this time amongst African Americans and Caucasians. Anti-miscegenation laws were laws that enforced racial segregation at the level of marriage and intimate relationships by criminalizing interracial marriage and sometimes sex between members of different races. Many traditionalists in America believed that the marriage of whites and blacks were immoral and “against god”. As a result, the punishment for the intermarriage of a white and black was confinement in the penitentiary no more than five years. For many years, society depicts interracial relationships and marriages as a negative. Enforcing rules and limitations that kept whites and blacks separated; to this day many traditionalist/conservatives have kept these opinions and ideas on interracial marriage.

In 1967, anti-miscegenation laws were ruled as unconstitutional during the Loving vs. Virginia case. Non-whites and whites were now permitted to marry in most states in America. However, many Americans were still resistance towards accepting and appreciating interracial relationships. Why are we still so resistant towards dating outside of our culture? Interracial relationships have become more incorporated within our media and society. I strongly believe that the depiction of African American women affects interracial relationships between black women and white males in society specifically. Proven by research and statistics, interracial marriage between black women and white males still remain as one of the rarest forms of interracial marriage, even with the ever growing rate of interracial couples in America today. However factors vary on both sides in regards to interracial marriage, both whites and blacks have different views and oppositions towards interracial marriage. “The same is true for males and females, and it is true for both for those within the relationships and those observing them from the outside. Interracial marriage is refracted through the lenses of each community, and thus each group...
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