Reflections on 'Scandal' and Interracial Romance

Angela Onwuachi-Willig explains at the Huffington Post why the relationship at the center of the drama is personal for her, and a reminder of how far we have to go.

Posted:
 
scandalbuzz575x52813lc
Screenshot of Scandal (ABC)

Angela Onwuachi-Willig explains at the Huffington Post why the relationship at the center of the drama is personal for her, and a reminder of how far we have to go.

My reaction to Scandal is, on one level, personal. As a black woman who has been married to my white husband for 17 years and, more so, been in a relationship with him for 22 years, I tend to cringe at depictions of interracial intimacy, particularly black-white intimacy, under morally unacceptable circumstances, such as adulterous affairs ...

In many instances, interracial relationships are portrayed not only as signs of impurity but also as the result of uncontrollable sexual lust. Indeed, Alice and Leonard Rhinelander, the real-life stars of a 1920s New York society interracial love drama (and part of the subject of my book), found themselves described by Leonard's lawyers in purely sexual terms. As Leonard's lawyers routinely intimated during the couple's forced annulment trial, what but for sex could have driven Leonard -- a descendant of the French Huguenots, an heir to millions, and once a fixture on the New York Social Register -- to fall in love with Alice, the chambermaid daughter of a "colored" taxi driver? Even popular movie titles, such as Spike Lee's Jungle Fever, hint at deviancy or sickness as the force behind interracial romance.

As the hit series Scandal continues to show us, despite the increasing rate of interracial marriage within the United States, interracial relationships are still frequently represented as dirty little secrets -- relationships to be hidden rather than shown with pride ...

Read Angela Onwuachi-Willig's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.   

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.