TV Diversity is Not Affirmative Action

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  • “Audiences (White, Black, Brown, Yellow and otherwise) are demanding diversity” – that’s for sure!

    While the lack of diversity is an ongoing issue, it seems to me that at this point it’s distracting at best and uncomfortable to the point of being unable to enjoy shows that are without it, at worst.

    I’ve been pondering your “The State of Blacks on Television Looks Good” article for a while. I remember when I was growing up that the same theory and excitement was in the air with The Jeffersons, Chico and the Man, Sanford and Sons, Good Times, What’s Happening, etc., but the trend didn’t continue. I’m curious if you see this current change as sustaining, expanding and becoming the status quo or is it in danger of receding like the 70’s?

    • There is definitely a cyclical presence of Blacks on television. Most recently, there was that moment in the 90’s when “Black” shows were popular also. It seems like we get excited that the face of entertainment is changing only for the shows to drop of drastically.

      The big difference that I am seeing now is the introduction of new media. Just looking at what Issa Rae has done, shows that new media offers consumers more choices, and in turn, consumers have more control over what (and who) gets play.

      The entertainment industry only cares about one thing: money. They will back whatever is the best bet to get that money. That is why TV studios try to woo big stars. That is why there are umpteen CSIs on CBS. That is why Chuck Lorre has so many sitcoms on right now. If it worked once, TV will repeat that process until it doesn’t work anymore (and sometimes beyond).

      To answer your question, this change is in danger of receding, and it is up to us (the viewers) to make sure it doesn’t. If we want these new casting practices to become the norm, we have to keep watching, streaming, and especially tweeting about our shows.