Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Question: TV and Diversity


Are we as minority viewers--black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBT etc--holding shows with mostly white casts to an unfair double standard when we demand diversity or criticize for the lack thereof, but have no problem with black shows or movies that have few or no white characters? Should racial/sexual diversity be taken on a show-by-show basis, according to it's setting, plot and so on (i.e. what diversity means on a show like Mad Men may not be the same for a show like The New Normal or Girls).

A big, loaded question I know. But I'd really like to know what you guys think about this.

4 comments:

Daddy Squeeze Me! said...

I think we do not question it bc we are so happy to get just anything on the air featuring us. I think we know it wont happen often and we are just happy to see them..the more the better...something like...get while the gettin is good.

K. Clark said...

@Daddy Squeeze Me!: That's true, we do forgive a lot when it comes to seeing ourselves on TV. But even with a classic sitcom like The Cosby Show, there were rarely characters of any other race, and no one really said anything (that I know of).

But with an equally popular white show--say Friends--the lack of diversity was brought up time and time again. Though I watch the show and have no problem finding it funny.

I guess what I'm asking is it always necessary for a show go down the "diversity checklist (i.e black character, hispanic character, gay character, etc.) or just should it just concentrate on creating compelling/memorable characters and not limit that vision to white actors/actresses?

Anonymous said...

I think its possible to concentrate on creating full compelling characters and be inclusive in regard to casting. Our lack of diversity in tv programming show the need to be inclusive rather than exclusive, especially when it comes to marginalized people. I dont think its an either or scenario. And I never watched friends because of its over-hyped vanilla casting.

K. Clark said...

@Anonymous: I think it is possible too; But I wonder if we as black viewers come off as hypocritical when we demand good, complex mainstream shows--but ones with mostly white casts--have more diversity but don't mind if compelling, complex white characters don't show up in shows with majority black casts.

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