A happy interracial family hugging each other while wearing apparel from clothing retailer Old Navy. A smiling Black man giving his white girlfriend an engagement ring in a State Farm insurance ad. And a biracial couple and their kids on a road trip in a vehicle made by Hyundai.
These are among the increasing number of advertisements selling everything from cereal to prescription drugs that portray the American family in ways few companies and advertising agencies would have dared a generation ago.
More than 50 years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws banning interracial marriage, a growing number of ads feature interracial couples with biracial children.
In Alexandria, Virginia, Kelly Thalman, who is white and a single mother to a biracial child, is glad to see the trend.
“It makes children who may look a bit different than their Caucasian peers feel that they’re represented, as well,” she said. “When my son watches an advertisement during a children’s show, I want him to see a mom and dad who look like his mom and dad,” (who is Black) “and not just Caucasian families.”
“One of the big cries has been (to see) more diversity,” said Brando Simeo Starkey, a writer for The Undefeated, a website that focuses on the perceptions of race and culture. “I think this is a good thing and a sign of progress.”
But he said he wonders why many interracial ads focus on white and Black people and not other minority groups.
Mark Jones, president of Jones Advertising in Seattle, Washington, said his agency tries to reflect multiculturalism in its ads.
He told The Voice of America, “It’s a conscious decision, and we’re trying to better represent America.”