I’m not a social scientist, so I’m going out on a limb with my own anecdotal, subjective observations in this post.
The Black Lives Matter demonstrations were big news last year. Even some of the BLM protests here in Rochester made the national news shows. Amidst all of the racial tensions last year, I noticed something that defied those tensions. Maybe you did, too.
I’m not a huge television watcher – mostly news and sports when I do watch – but I have noticed the growing trend of television commercials featuring interracial couples, specifically White and Black characters.* This is noticeable to me because I grew up in an era – the 1960s – when such commercials would have been unthinkable. So what’s with these companies that are using interracial couples in their marketing campaigns? Are they part of some sort of cooperative social engineering effort by American “elites” to promote harmony and ease racial tensions? Hardly. An article I found on the topic quoted a marketing professor who said the ads, “attract the broad base of customers whose values align with those portrayed through these ads—inclusion and diversity.” Got it. Viewers who value “inclusion and diversity” and who see a commercial featuring an interracial couple are – consciously or subconsciously – apt to have a favorable view of the product and company, according to the marketing strategy.
In the 1960s, just seeing a Black person on a television sitcom was a novelty. Bigotry was still very blatant and accepted at that time. As another example, Governor George Wallace of Alabama, an unabashed segregationist, campaigned for President in 1964 and again in 1968 and received a surprising amount of support. Interracial dating and marriage were definitely not socially acceptable in the 60s and 70s. I can vividly remember riding in the car with my step-father-in-law around 1975 and passing a Black-White couple walking down the sidewalk. My step-father-in-law had an absolute hissy fit. Many conservative evangelical and fundamental Baptist churches (especially in the South) preached against interracial dating and marriage in those days. Yes they did. Pastors presented Scripture verses purported to show that God disapproved of the mixing of races. As one extreme example, Bob Jones University did not lift its ban on interracial dating until 2017.
While the New Testament doesn’t directly address interracial dating or marriage one way or the other, I can’t imagine Jesus Christ approving of segregationist policies/traditions/customs and forbidding interracial marriages. BTW, today’s DNA test kits are showing that we have a lot more ethnic and racial variety than our grandparents would have been comfortable acknowledging.
“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:11
It’s regrettable that we still have to deal with race issues. Prejudice still exists. And there are also those who stoke racial tensions for their own benefit. At the foot of the cross we are all sinners in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
*I’ve noticed (my subjective observation) that in the majority of these commercials featuring interracial couples, the male is Caucasian and the female is Black. Perhaps that is the marketers’ pragmatic concession to lingering objections to a Caucasian woman being in a relationship with a Black man?
Does God frown upon interracial marriages?