Shonda Rhimes: Breaking Stereotypes One Show at a Time

The Season Two finale of How to Get Away with Murder, “Anna Mae”, integrated many factors that proved the great quality of the show. It’s not a show that is full of stereotypical, racist comments. How To Get Away With Murder incorporates many ideas that are against our stereotypical beliefs. Four of the main characters in this show are of the African American descent, Annalise Keating, Wes, Michaela, and Nate. Many television shows have minorities play small roles within the cast, not How To Get Away With Murder. Annalise Keating plays the main character in the show. She is a very independent, strong willed, African American lawyer. All African Americans in How To Get Away with Murder are upper class people who are dressed very classy. This is unlike many other television shows as they often depict African Americans as being a part of the lower class and being very violent. Violence… This brings upon another overused stereotype, all African Americans are violent. Once again, this is proven incorrect after watching even one episode of How To Get Away With Murder. Throughout all episodes, whites and blacks each have equal amounts of violent scenes within the show. It’s not just the black people who are involved in violence.

How To Get Away With Murder is a show that many Americans should watch. Not only does it go against many racial stereotypes, it goes against sexual orientation stereotypes. Another main character on the show is Connor. Connor is a middle aged gay man who is involved, openly, with many other men. Throughout the show, he is not shunned and he is encouraged, by Annalise and other characters to be involved with another man. The show displays graphic sexual scenes of Connor with other men which may make some viewers uncomfortable. Although it may make some people uncomfortable, they will begin to get used to it and realize that people do not have a choice to be gay or not, as the show enforces this. Connor is treated no differently than anyone else and he is equally successful.

Lastly, within this specific episode, Annalise’s sister said, “Lots of women work and have kids these days.” Once again, this quote battles another stereotype. The stereotype that women are stay at home moms and that they shouldn’t take on work. The entire show involves going against the “basic beliefs” that people have. White people don’t always date white people, black people are not less successful, gays can be accepted, black people can have money, women don’t have to be stay at home moms.

How To Get Away With Murder enriches people’s lives by giving them new perspectives. Shonda Rhimes is an African American writer who incorporates many ideas that are not the classic stereotypical beliefs. Unlike it was many years ago, people today have a lot of variety when it comes to what show they will watch. Instead of shunning gays, they embrace them. Instead of giving African Americans small roles, they have main roles. The problem is, not all television shows are like this. Film writers have a choice on what to include and what not to include, it is up to them. Lastly, there have been changes in some, not all, television shows. Some incorporate more variety like How To Get Away With Murder. Without variety and without breaking stereotypical thoughts, it will be difficult for our society to get rid of the stereotypes lingering in our heads. This is because media is the biggest influence in people’s lives.

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