Diversity in Media
As the issue of diversity in media went hot quickly after the Oscars film award last year, there were progress towards solving the issue, but is it enough? We can see that there more diverse faces on television over the past few years, while the film industry remained whitewashed as usually. Doubtlessly, there are more people of color on television. What we are no seeing is the white supremacy behind the scenes and how is still effecting the industry. Are we really satisfied with what we see right now? Let me take you in for a closer look.
In compare with movies, the TV shows are bright with many colors. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite went wild the internet in 2016 opposing the whiteness on screen and demanding a fair, equal chance for people of colors to be the screen. Well aware of this issue, television programming has acted quickly. According the article “TV’s Making Progress on Diversity, but it’s Motivated By Money,” by Gary Levin, he expressed, “This year’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign targeted the film industry, but midway through the fall TV season, with all 20 new shows now airing, more than a third of the actors on major-network sitcoms and dramas are racially or ethnically diverse, according to USA TODAY research” (Levin). The United States, as a diverse country with many people of different ethnicities, and many great heroes of colors. But ironically, children and people of color in the United State grew up watching whitewashed television. Levin quoted Corey Hawkins, actor played on the led on Fox’s upcoming 24 revival in his article “‘growing up, I didn’t see too many positive heroes, American heroes, that looked like me on TV’”. However, things has been changing, more color people show their talents on the screen, sending a message to the people in front of the television, giving them a dream, telling them their chances has come. Television is provide more equal chance to people of color in this diverse but equal country. Everyone should and have the right to be equal, not just whites. However, things are different behind the scene.
A successful film series does not only depends on the skills of the actors, but on the people behind the scene as well. People working in the shadows day by day giving up their hours and sleep to produce a great show to satisfy the audiences. People put their time and energies just so they can have their name show at the end, and often people don’t even pay attention for their hard work. Audiences only remember the splendid moment happened on the screen, and forget the dirty works behind the bright stage. However, while television is working to put more diverse faces on, the staff remains mostly white. According to the article “Show-runners for New TV Season Remain Mostly White and Male” by Maureen Ryan, she revealed “ A Variety investigation into new scripted shows for the 2016–17 season reveals that 90% of show-runners are white, and almost 80% are male” (Ryan). This shows that even we been eulogize freedom and equality and see it as the foundation of the country, white male still dominates.
It is a loop, the show-runners not only decide the direction of the program but also the hiring, firing, and give chance to writers of their preference to rise. According to the article by Ryan, she claimed that “Shows run by white men tend to lead to more shows led by white men”. The cycle continues on. This is the reason of the issue has not been solve. Ryan also expressed that out of the 50 show-runners in the season of 2016–17 only two are women of color, and three are men of colors, total of ten percent. In other words, nine out of ten people running the show are white. Unlike assumptions, numbers are undeniable facts. And the fact is there are many people with talents out there in the world striving for just one chance to prove themselves but didn’t get what they deserve. While many audience is just so happy to a couple more diverse faces on the television. Nevertheless, there are no doubts progress and decisions are being made.
When #OscarsSoWhite went wild on the internet, our friendly neighbor, Britain has also been targeted. The hashtag #BRITSSoWhite, a British pop music honor also went across the internet in a second during the BRITS ceremony in February. Well aware this issue diversity in the media, the Bafta, British Academy for Television Arts acted quick. To help cultivate diversity in media, the Baftas has set a new requirement for nomination for outstanding British film and outstanding British debut filmmaker awards. Revealed in the article “Baftas So White, but They’re Working on It” by Christopher D. Shea on The New York Times, Shea expressed “Starting in 2019 moviemakers will “need to demonstrate that they have worked to increase the representation of underrepresented groups” to be nominated for the outstanding British film and outstanding British debut filmmaker awards”. In other words, in the close future we can see more people of colors expressing their talent on the screen. Giving them more fair chance to reveal themselves. Giving dream to the people who worked so hard under the stage for many years but didn’t have many minutes on the screen. Giving them a chance that they deserve.
Realizing the facts for the people behind the stage, can we still smile like we used to anymore when are looking at the screen? Shows putting new looks of colors trying to fool audiences giving an illusion that they are fixing the problems while the system remain the same after all. Should we be ignorant fools that fall into the bait or should we raise our voices for the right of the minority, people of colors, women, ultimately, us?
Levin, Gary. “TV’s making progress on diversity, but it’s motivated by money.”USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 03 Nov. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
Ryan, Maureen. “Showrunners for New TV Season Remain Mostly White and Male.” Variety. N.p., 08 June 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
Shea, Christopher D. “Baftas So White, but They’re Working on It.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 14 Dec. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.