Emergent Black/Asian Interracial Relationships in the Shows 'ER' and 'Grey’s Anatomy'

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Table of contents

  1. Literature Review
  2. Analysis
  3. Discussion

The author examines the pattern of popular culture that recently interracial relationships have become represented on several prime-time television shows, and that Asians and Blacks have been paired together on television shows. Usually, we see on prime-time television shows Blacks and Asians have relationships where they are in love and don’t have sex, or where they have sex and aren’t in love. The shows ER and Grey’s Anatomy gave rise to this artifact because they were the first to depict emergent Black/Asian interracial relationships. The information from this article mostly comes from television, news discourse, and some other sources, using post-structuralism and semiotics as influencers and the author's analysis within the field of cultural studies. The theme of color neutrality inserted in these shows is a sign of racial progress. With the rise of interracial relationships on television, it is more common to see that their love relationship doesn’t always go with the storyline. From studying this artifact the author proposes that television is a place where white supremacy reigns through continued reliance on uncomplicated stereotypical portrayals of race and gender. The interracial Black and Asian relationship narratives in ER and Grey’s Anatomy move the viewers more towards a simultaneously colorblind and an increase in multi-cultures of society, which is what society sees in their everyday life walking outside.

Literature Review

The author provides an overview of how society has moved past race and actually viewed people for who they are on the inside. Because everyone is equal in society no matter what their color or nationality is. That’s why America is so great because we are diverse, in today’s society we see this all the time on television. When TV shows implement people of all races, it draws a wider variety of viewers because they can relate in certain ways. The topic the author discusses is the textual analysis which is a qualitative method of analysis that focuses on the ideology and cultural assumptions of the text. This allowed Washington to compare the episodes to create an analyzable to consider interpretations of interracial relationships. Another topic was marriage without sex and sex without marriage: the fate of interracial romance on TV. The article discusses the relationship between Dr. Burke and Yang, and how they begin their relationship on a sexual level. In the beginning, the viewers of the show were confused when Yang seduces Burke because people weren’t sure if Yang actually had feelings or if she was just using him for the benefit of being a White title character. A turning point in their relationship is when Yang becomes pregnant. The knowledge one must have to comprehend is to have seen the TV show and understand the relationships that are happening, and how interracial relationships work on television.

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The media used in this artifact is television based on two shows. This puts a difference in how the message is received because they evaluate different relationships and how they differ from the two TV shows. Also, something you can get with not very much knowledge and just watching the two shows ER and Grey’s Anatomy, the viewers are well aware that the men and women graduated at the top of their classes at some of the top medical schools around the United States making them smarter than the average person. Being a doctor takes lots of schooling and education taking this career path can be a risk but has a very good outcome because usually you make more money than the average person, this shows that everyone on this show is successful. Both shows use these women to mandate how Asian Americans should carry themselves in order to fit into White society. The other non-Asian characters have had struggles trying to make it past medical school, and pass their exams, complete internships, and residencies. But, these women never faced those struggles. The characters make no reference to racial discrimination which makes the audience believe that race doesn’t matter anymore in today’s society. The author talks about how the narratives work by relying on triangulation of Blackness, Asianness, and Whiteness where Asian Americans are seen to be model minorities relative to the positioning of Black as less Ideal. How both ER and Grey’s Anatomy use the same rhetorical strategies to represent their interracial relationships.


People move beyond the fact that identity is constructed based on white hegemonic norms and the discourse is based on the reaction to these norms. The article focused on certain relationships within the show for example Grey’s Anatomy focused on the marriage between Burke and Yang and how interracial couples act, what they do throughout the show, and when Yang’s former lover tries to win her back by showing that he is smarter and more skilled than Yang. Yang changed and was no longer as focused and driven as she used to be. The relationship, on this show between the Black and Asian couple, had the chance to be the first interracial couple to move past the binary of love and sex, and have both but it failed to do so. This article concluded that despite crossing boundaries, and taboos television continues to be a medium where white supremacy continues reliance on uncomplicated stereotypical portrayals of race and gender.

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Emergent Black/Asian Interracial Relationships in the Shows ‘ER’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/emergent-black-asian-interracial-relationships-in-the-shows-er-and-greys-anatomy/
“Emergent Black/Asian Interracial Relationships in the Shows ‘ER’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/emergent-black-asian-interracial-relationships-in-the-shows-er-and-greys-anatomy/
Emergent Black/Asian Interracial Relationships in the Shows ‘ER’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/emergent-black-asian-interracial-relationships-in-the-shows-er-and-greys-anatomy/> [Accessed 22 May 2024].
Emergent Black/Asian Interracial Relationships in the Shows ‘ER’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 May 22]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/emergent-black-asian-interracial-relationships-in-the-shows-er-and-greys-anatomy/

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