Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

A few points dealing with race

  1. Dec 25, 2007 #1
    1) On TV, people are always paired by their supposed race. It is taboo to do otherwise.

    1) It appears that the notion of who is white has become more relaxed over the past decades to include almost everyone, with the one-drop rule still applying to those of black descent (TV illustrates this well).

    3) People try hard to preserve their whiteness or emulate whiteness. This is seen by peoples choices in who they are willing to marry (or even date). For instance most Oriental women would prefer to procreate with a white man. Another example is Hispanic women, of whom I estimate 85% dye their hair to avoid having natural jet black hair.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2007 #2
    3) People try hard to preserve their whiteness or emulate whiteness. This is seen by peoples choices in who they are willing to marry (or even date). For instance most Oriental women would prefer to procreate with a white man. Another example is Hispanic women, of whom I estimate 85% dye their hair to avoid having natural jet black hair.

    Yeah, I think thats stupid, its like "You look better in your natural hair color, make-up stlye, etc." Why not have pride in your heritage?
  4. Dec 25, 2007 #3
    I would actually take it a step further and say people should not even have pride in their heritage. People dont have a choice in being their race, nor is culture, history, or achievements that one might choose to associate with that race the creation of that individual. One can only be proud of something they do, and being born of a race does not meet that criterion... This pride thing is what many whites use to try to preserve their whiteness.
  5. Dec 25, 2007 #4
    Yeah, good point, but every race has its things to be proud of.
  6. Dec 26, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It is not taboo. The fact is, you don't put something into the premise of a show unless there's a reason for it - especially something relatively uncommon.

    If you put a wheelchair-bound person into a show, people are going to want to know why they're wheelchair-bound, and it had better be significant to the premise, or all it is is a distraction.

    Same with cross-race relationships. You'll need to explain that, and have it be part of the storyline, otherwise it's just a distraction.

    Shows and films are not meant to be an accurate depiction of life, they are meant to be a distillation of life. i.e. the storyteller must throw away anything that is not significant to the story they're trying to tell.
  7. Dec 26, 2007 #6
    Why would an interracial relationship need to be explained as opposed to a single-race one?
  8. Dec 26, 2007 #7
    you're just playing devil's advocate

    interracial relationships are far from the norm, so naturally one on TV would stand out.
  9. Dec 26, 2007 #8
    Interracial relationships are not far from the norm, but assuming they are, I dont believe TV producers or execs should insist on supposed racial homogeneity. These are interesting social issues that should be talked about.
  10. Dec 26, 2007 #9
    Can you provide a citation for this?
  11. Dec 26, 2007 #10


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It's not taboo and it's been done, years ago as a matter of fact (1975) on The Jeffersons is one that instantly comes to mind. Their wealthy neighbors were a white man married to a black woman, they had two children, one that looked black (male) and a daughter that looked white. I've seen a number of shows over the years with mixed couples, and like Dave said, the show would need a reason in the storyline for it.

    It's always a good idea to do some research on a topic before posting about it.
  12. Dec 26, 2007 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I addressed this quite explicitly in my post. Must I repeat myself?

    Everything in a show is either significant or it is eliminated. It has nothing to with whether it should be in the show and everything to do with whether that's what the show is about.
  13. Dec 26, 2007 #12
    I don't know if it's quite "taboo" anymore, as Evo has already pointed out. Alas, I have seen a surprising lack of interracial relationships in television shows. Maybe it's just that I don't watch a lot of TV, but I notice that even in modern American society, interracial relationships are seen as somehow abnormal. And this is quite unfortunate.

    Incidentally, may I ask what constitutes emulating "whiteness?"
  14. Dec 26, 2007 #13
    i would think it is more accurate to say every culture has something to be proud of. it sounds strange to me to find pride in the whiteness or blackness of one's skin.
  15. Dec 26, 2007 #14


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It is more appropriate to find pride in one's own behavior rather than one's culture or race. That's about as rational in getting all pumped up because your favorite team of millionaire athletes won some title.
  16. Dec 26, 2007 #15
    I live at the Tijuana-San Diego border and 96% of people here are Mexican, so I see first hand.
    The racial dynamics of society is observable on a day-to-day basis. At UCSD 40% of the population is Oriental so there too I am able to make observations.
  17. Dec 26, 2007 #16
    I don't understand why you believe that showing interracial couples on TV needs special justification. I don't see logic there. And I do do "research" in sociology. The examples you provided only account for 0.5% of what's on the air so my posting makes sense.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2007
  18. Dec 26, 2007 #17
    No, you weren't explicit. Going out of one's way to ensure a TV set is racially homogenous is significant. I'd rather expend less energy by taking in all good actors.
  19. Dec 26, 2007 #18
    In China, billboards show Chinese with wider eyes, lighter skin, and in general with less Chinese features. The billboards use these "whiter Chinese" to show how people should look like, and it works. That's just one example.
  20. Dec 26, 2007 #19


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I must admit that I have a sexual preference for Asian (particulary Korean) physical types, but that is simply a matter of them tending to combine a lot of attributes that I care for. There's nothing particularly racial about it; it's just aesthetics. I got the same mix from both parents (which is really weird, since they came from opposite sides of the country): 1/4 highland Scots; 1/4 lowland Scots; 1/4 English (which I try to ignore); and 1/4 Irish (but since that's Black Irish, I consider myself part Spanish, and my physiology supports that). There is also a touch of African on my mother's side, if she can be believed. There is no question that a lot of my family by marriage is black.
    W is Cree/Scots Meti; she looks to be Inuit, and most people think that she's Chinese. :rolleyes:
    What really pisses me off about commercials around here (other than their initial presence) is that they always show same-race couples. Why can't they just tell the bigots to shove it and go ahead with having a Caucasion woman and an Asian or Afro-Canadian (or Yank) man being a normal couple. From my standpoint, I steer my business away from the stereotypical ad scene.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2007
  21. Dec 27, 2007 #20
    Do you have a citation for that? Do you have a citation for the other two statistics?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook