Too often, on-screen interracial relationships are limited to the pairing of a white person, usually a male, with a woman of color, ignoring the fact that other constructions do exist.
But the representations we do have can help move the ball forward.
Lead author Allison Skinner, a UW postdoctoral researcher, said she undertook the study after noting a lack of in-depth research on bias toward interracial couples.
“I felt like the polls weren’t telling the whole story,” said Skinner, a researcher in the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. In the first, 152 college students were asked a series of questions about relationships, including how disgusted they felt about various configurations of interracial relationships and about their own willingness to have an interracial romance.
Interracial marriage has grown in the United States over the past few decades, and polls show that most Americans are accepting of mixed-race relationships.
This is especially true with regard to eliminating the racial prejudices that fostered the segregation of minorities to their own communities, businesses and social institutions.
Prior civil rights legislation, many states had enacted laws that prohibited interracial marriage, making marriage between people of two different races illegal.
Laws like these no longer exist however interracial marriage is not wholly embraced by American society.
The participants overall showed high levels of acceptance and low levels of disgust about interracial relationships, and pointed to a strong negative correlation between the two.
In the second experiment, the researchers showed 19 undergraduate students wedding and engagement photos of 200 interracial and same-race couples while recording their neural activity.
While the laws criminalizing interracial marriages no longer exist, there are still moral and religious ideologies that perceive marriage between racially diverse couples as unacceptable.