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Pet Sins November 2004

Black woman/White man pairings in movies

Observations on women of color/white man pairings in American movies:

There have been a spate of movies with women of color (usually light-skinned) paired as love interests with white men, such as Halle Berry in "Die Another Day" and Beyonce Knowles in "Goldmember." Nationally, 75% of black/white relationships are black males and white females. Yet one almost NEVER sees a major movie where a black man has a white woman as a love interest, even though black male/white female pairings are fairly common, at least where I live. Now, why am I not surprised? :-0

M, 11/02

Anglo men just don't like to see their women dating other types of men -- but of course they have no problem watching a beautiful black, Latina or Asian woman dating one of them. Case in point, Halle Berry and her movies in which she's always dating an Anglo as well as the movie "The Bodyguard." Interesting to note that if The Bodyguard had starred Wesley Snipes and Madonna it would not have made the money it did.

D, 6/03


Comment from 'S.B.'
I'm a black/Amer.Indian/white female and I too has seen the discrepancies between fantasy and reality. I also notice that the black women in those interracial fantasy films are often light-skinned (Halle, Thandie, and Beyonce) and that those fantasy relationships are either degrading (think Monster's Ball) or tragic (Feast of All Saints). Hollywood has done a poor job of portraying IRs between BW and WM.
Jan 05

Comment from 'N.H.'
I agree with D's observation above. Take for example the Harry Potter series - the epitome of mainstream success. The white male hero Harry Potter finds a yellow female love interest, but the main female character Hermione is the love interest of Ron, a white boy. Due to Ron's lack of initiative, Hermione briefly dates a newcomer - a white foreigner from Bulgaria. Would Harry Potter still be as acceptable with the 'mainstream' audience if Hermione's foreign date had been African, Asian or any boy of color?

In "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", there are no less than four white male characters going to the ball with girls of color as their dates. Harry Potter and Ron have Indian dates. Ron's older brother asks a black girl to be his partner, and the handsome Cedric brings his yellow girlfriend Cho Chanh. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, until you note the lack of representations of boys of color with white girls. In the movie, as the camera spans the ballroom, you see a random white boy-yellow girl couple among the extras. Now the 'canon couples' from the book have to be represented in the film, of course - so the movie cannot be faulted for representing the book characters with their specific dates of color, but as for the extras who fill the background, there is no rule to say that they have to exclude white girl/boy of color couples, but apparently, the unspoken rule still persists.

Dec 05