“Diversity Day”: too much or not enough?

Madden McDonnell
Mar 20, 2017 · 3 min read
Image for post
Image for post

In the episode “Diversity Day” from the iconic sitcom The Office, the racial demographic is highlighted. Michael Scott is the main character in the show, and he is the head of the office. He is portrayed as the example of what not to do. He is ignorant and this causes him to get into a lot of trouble. Scott had been reported for making some inappropriate jokes about race, so a counselor was sent in to talk with the group about racism. In this episode, Michael puts a spin on an activity to try to help with racial issues, but instead just makes the situation worse by going over the top of racial stereotypes. This episode highlighted the race demographics regarding Mexicans, African Americans, and Indians.

Michael Scott’s activity consisted of assigning each person a different race and telling others to treat each other based off of whatever race they were assigned. This activity was doomed from the start, because everyone should be treated equally, no matter what their race is. Michael would walk around and criticise others when they would try to treat everyone equally. He would tell them to act off of preexisting stereotypes and live based on those preconceived beliefs.

Oscar is one of the workers at the office, and he is Mexican. He makes the assumption that all hispanic citizens are immigrants. He also makes several racial jokes regarding Mexicans and burritos. Throughout the episode, whenever Scott is addressing Oscar, he speaks in Spanish phrases, such as “como estas” and “hasta luego”. He is unfairly treating Oscar differently than he does other workers. This demographic is being addressed in a negative light because all stereotypes people have about MExicans are being discussed and brought to the forefront of the episode.

The counselor who came to talk to the staff about racial issues was named “Mr. Brown”. He was an African American. Michael immediately assumed that because Mr. Brown happened to be African American there was no way his name could be Mr. Brown. Michael’s initial response to meeting Mr. Brown was ”first test I will not call you that!” Mr. Brown isn’t sure how to react to this and simply tells Michael even though he’s African American his name can be Mr. Brown.

Stanley is an African American male working at the office. Scott makes several jokes regarding how Stanley loves collard greens. Throughout the episode, Scott refers to Stanley as a “bro” or “brother”, because he is addressing the stereotype that all black males refer to each other as “brothers”. The black racial demographic is brought into light throughout this episode because many people, like Scott, accidentally make racial mistakes.

Kelly is an Indian female among the cast. Whenever Michael talks to Kelly, he uses an over the top Indian accent. He sounds beyond ridiculous when he does this. He also makes a crude joke about how Indians all work at convenience stores. After several rude comments, Kelly slaps her boss. This proves that racial stereotypes are highly offensive to those of that certain race. Michael’s mistake of constantly using an Indian accent shows the viewers that joking about others’ races is highly unacceptable in our society.

The Office is one of the most entertaining series in our countries. Throughout this entire episode, there is a serious enforcement of norms. Racial stereotypes described in the episode are a constant reinforcement of the common beliefs our country has about certain races and cultures. The demographic of race in episode two of season one of the office perfectly addresses the issue we have about unfairly treating certain races.


Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store