The film "A United Kingdom" reminds us of the progress made with interracial marriage

"A United Kingdom" reminds us of the progress made with interracial marriage, but lacks in the bigger picture

I believe we are undoubtedly the most progressive generation so far. This past weekend I went to see a film that reminded me of that. 

"A United Kingdom" reminds us that it wasn't too long ago that skin color was a barrier to overcome for some couples. In fact, it wasn't until the year 2000 when the state of Alabama finally changed its decision and lifted the ban on the right to an interracial marriage in the state

Just 55 years ago, Arizona repealed its ban on interracial marriages. Many of our parents lived to witness this repeal, yet we tend to forget this unfortunate part of history.

This film reminds us that a visual image today of an interracial couple is almost entirely a non-issue, certainly among millennials. As a college student at ASU, I witness many interracial couples daily, which is something past generations could not witness. 

Despite the flaws our world has when it comes to race relations, I believe people, especially younger people and students, are leading the way to a more accepting society.

Millennials are the most accepting demographic regarding openness to interracial marriage. Over 80 percent of millennials aged 18-29  — regardless of race — are open to interracial relationships.

In "A United Kingdom," the opposition of interracial marriage was based solely on political and racial reasons.

However, this film did not emphasize these racial biases as much as it should have. 

This film is based on a true-story about a law-student (at the time) named Ruth Williams Khama meeting and falling in love with Sir Seretse Khama, the eventual Chief of Botswana, a progressive leader who would strive for progress in his country. Families from each side of the marriage had a problem with the union: the feeling of betrayal. 

Ruth's parents were opposed to the marriage because it went against their family's traditions. 

On the other hand, Sir Seretse knew that having a white, British wife was not going to be acceptable to his people.

One of the few hard-hitting scenes in this film was when she arrived to Africa with Sir Sereste. 

She did not receive a warm welcome, or anything remotely close to that — she was just seen as another white person trying to tear their tribe apart. 

Though this moment exposed a racial divide, I did find a hole in this film.

Personally, I think it would have been necessary to put more emphasis on the daily bigotry that interracial couples would face back in that era, and this film had the potential to address that issue as one of its main highlights. 

Though the film addressed a racial issue, it wouldn't address why people were so uncomfortable seeing an interracial couple. 

Author and Time magazine contributor Arica L. Coleman Ph.D, said that this has been an on-going problem with the film industry.

She said she gives credit to the industry for highlighting important and progressive moments in historical films, but she also finds a problem in those same films for not presenting the full picture to the public when it comes down to race. 

"They are problematic — they sell an illusion — and a problem I have with the topic of interracial marriage is the whole notion of using interracial marriage as a sign of progress with race, but it also can be used as an eraser," she said. "Also, just like most of the time with Hollywood, it's almost always the black man with the exotic white woman, which continues to show that the lack for black women is still present."

This was my overall take on the film. 

The movie did a good job in reminding us of the racial progress with marriage, but did lack more emphasis on the opposition's reasons to oppose interracial marriage. It just portrayed the anger of those who were against interracial marriage. 

History judges past generations for its intolerance and racial injustice. However, millennials can use history as a tool to move forward and be more accepting.

While we are already the most acceptation generation so far, there is still work to be done. The film industry must realize this, and show the entire picture even if it's uncomfortable.


Reach the reporter at gmijares@asu.edu or follow @chasingsources on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.