Interracial Dating “Revolution?”

According to a recent article, (link here), there is an “interracial dating revolution” going on and we owe it all the Olivia Pope, the character on the justifyingly-popular television program “Scandal,” about a brilliant, beautiful young black woman who advises political power-brokers on how to save their asses week after week.

The character of Olivia Pope is portrayed by Kerry Washington, who is at turns more intelligent and perceptive than anyone else on Planet Earth, and also beguiled by The President of the United States of America (portrayed by uber-connected Tony Goldwyn, the son of a major movie studio mogul).

The chemistry isn’t (in my opinion) sizzling hot, but it’s there, and for television, it’s believable enough and absolutely shocking to see a popular, well-written TV program featuring a black woman as the star who is not a stereotype – in fact, far from it.

The article says that the program itself is stirring an interracial dating revolution (which we hope is true). It goes on to say that (what a surprise) Star Jones (of all people) called the character of Olivia Pope “a whore,” who should be dating black men. Many other black women feel the same way: white men should leave them alone, do not and could not ever find them attractive, are “too different” or too culturally different, it’s just not right, on and on. Meanwhile black men with white woman has become such a part of American culture that we see it in magazines at every check out line (just open “Black Enterprise” or “Jet” to any page or look at the ads on TV on any given night). Interesting.

But the show’s popularity has done great positive things; such as increase the dialogue, garnered attention to the topic on a national scale, and increased the number of similar TV programming with “Deception” starring Meagan Good as a police detective under cover and the upcoming Angela Basset series.

It’s gotten to the point where “The Root” is comparing “Deception” to “Scandal,” and attempting to critically judge which television program portrays a more accurate (meaning agreeable to them) depiction of realistic race relations in America.

Of course, that’s a silly argument to make in the first place, comparing a fictional TV show to real life when most bipeds with a functional cerebral cortex have enough sense to know TV doesn’t accurately mirror reality.

And yet TV does influence reality. Look at what the success of “Scandal” has already done. It’s pissed people off, encouraged others, created TV copycat shows where none existed if its ilk before.

Neither “Scandal” nor “Deception” come close to portraying reality (at least not my reality), but they hit the bulls eye when it comes to inspiring and giving little black girls something new to see on the cathode tube mind-duller than big-mouth Star Jones preening for attention (while she provides nothing of substance) or the demeaning black characters (like “The Help”) typically seen on network TV fare. At least now little black girls, if they see Olivia Pope on TV at all, will see a woman who doesn’t back down, is incredibly resourceful, attractive, dating whomever she wants (as opposed to being steered by society into the acceptable norm of either being single or dating someone who is more socially acceptable), has a good job, dresses professionally, is articulate and literate, and (very) well-connected.

Hooray for some interracial dating on TV between black women and white men, but I’d say that the exposure of these two TV shows pales (pun intended) to the exposure of black men with white women in print and TV ads (which I would suggest vastly outnumbers the hours of these two shows airing).

Ultimately any interracial dating and diversity on national television is a positive change in perceptions, especially when said characters, however fictional, are not stereotypes. What’s your take?

English: Kerry Washington at Metropolitan Oper...

English: Kerry Washington at Metropolitan Opera’s 2010-11 Season Opening Night – “Das Rheingold” (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Yes, ma’am.

Tony Goldwyn in Denver in August 2008

Tony Goldwyn in Denver in August 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Tony Goldwyn looking startled.