Is TV too white?


        “The TV and film superhero ranks have been overly white for too long, workplace shows should be diverse to reflect workplace in real America, and ethnic actors should get a chance to play more than the proverbial best friend or boss,” stated Nellie Andreeva. As a 16 year old African American teenage girl, I occasionally decide to watch Fox’s comedy, “Martin”, in my spare time. If you have ever watched this show, would you think deep into the color of the other minority shows, as I did? The number of African Americans, Latinos, and Asians don’t seem to add up to the number of whites seen on American television, aside from the “black comedies”.

          Arguing against the noticeably little diversity, Angela Helm, in “The ‘Empire’ Effect: Is The Sudden Diversification Of TV Really A Thing?”, states that “apparently the floodgates have burst open for minority actors on TV”,then rebuts it by saying they’ve actually been keeping track and there are indeed numbers of new television series with black leads being shot everyday. She argues that not every show on television is filled with only whites, in order to show that “The Empire” wasn’t the start of it all. On the contrary, is this really true? We are towards the end of the year in 2015 and I continuously find the major networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS to be presented mainly by white cast members, with the rare appearance of minorities. Not only for African-Americans but for the other people of color who haven’t been put on film for years, without placing whiteness as the center of normal.

         Regarding why TV should be more diverse, Entertainment weekly writers, Margeaux Watson and Jennifer Armstrong, in “Diversity: Why is TV so white?” ,argue that the television show, “The Cleveland Show,” having the main role as an African American male being voiced by a white man, is the only minority character to anchor a series on the Big Five networks in 2008-2009. They support their claim by providing an example of how proud Cleveland Brown is of his African-American heritage, and his story involving how a black bowling ball might feel when surrounded by white pins. The two then proceed to show that networks need to ensure that even their cartoons of color count, however after making an effort towards more diversity, they began to lose focus into the idea, not just involving African Americans. As seen on cartoons, or shows, this is very true because of the low standard focus being made. Watching “The Cleveland Show” with my little brother, I would have never guessed Cleveland was being voiced by a white man. Not only is it promoting unfairness to race, but also grabbing the attention of children in an effective way.

        This all ties into broadcast networks that are whiter than the Caucasian percentage of 66.2 percent of the United States population, while the Latino percentage is considerably lower than the 15.2 percent. When will I be able to watch a massive amount of shows without thinking to myself “Why is this channel specifically for African Americans?, or why is there a scarce amount of equal diversity being shown on this show?” I would enjoy doing more watching, less thinking. The number of Latinos, Asians, and African Americans should be just as equal to the number of Caucasians shown on American Television.


16 thoughts on “Is TV too white?

  1. This is really interesting – I watch a LOT of TV and I think about this a lot. It’s really interesting to think about how much of an impact Empire has. When one show breaks out it often has to carry the weight of the representing an entire culture in 20 or 40 min. We are seeing that today with blackish & Fresh Off the Boat but I hope that we see the shift to where it’s not one show with an Asian family or one show with a black family but lots of shows with all different types of people represented.

    Have you heard of the Bedchel test for feminism in movies? Because I think there should be one for diversity in TV. Two people of color should talk about something that’s unrelated to their ethnic identity for it to be considered a diverse show. Now, that’s not to say adding in a perspective isn’t valuable. But why I think Empire wins at the end of the day is because it balances an authentic perspective with a compelling narrative and it’s not just about a black family or just about the music industry. It’s about both

    Also if anyone anywhere made a show show being a Native American that wasn’t subtly racist that would be cool too.


      1. The same applies to me, over millions of people watch TV and the diversity being broadcasted across the nation, doesn’t really get brought upon or spoken about hardly ever.


  2. This is such a timely and important topic, especially with the recent Emmy awards. I was aghast at the fact that it’s 2015 and we’ve just had our FIRST black female winner for best lead actress in a drama. That’s unfathomable to me.
    My friend actually got a PhD in feminism in TV — did you know you could dedicate a life’s work to this field? — and I think she’d be very interested in your thoughts. She and her partner are actually working on a paper right now about diversity in comic book characters. I think you three would have a lot to discuss.


  3. I didn’t know that Cleveland was voiced by a white man. This is a topic that we should really be concerned about because even me, myself see that most of the television shows now a days have only white males/females as the lead role actors. And some black supporting actors.
    Over all, NICE OP ED MAN


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