Diversity Day: Accurate or Untrue?
While analyzing NBC’s hit show “The Office” dozens of different demographics are depicted. In the episode entitled “Diversity Day,” the glaring topic becomes race in the work place. More specifically I will be focusing on how each race is viewed through the lens of white males that are ignorant to other races and their interaction with them.
In the beginning of the show Michael Scott, (white male) quickly walks over to Oscar, (Hispanic male) and begins a conversation the same moment the man coming in to speak with the workers about diversity walks through the door. He says to Oscar awkwardly, “Hey Oscar, how you doing man? Did you have a good weekend going there?” Oscars face is blatantly confused as to why he is trying to make conversation. Michael is showing viewers how white individuals don’t want to come off as racist. That can be the main focus sometimes for people because they feel proving that they are not racist is more important than believing in their words and actions. This is what Michael is doing by proving that he has a friend of another race so he is viewed as a well rounded man. In the following scene the presenter of diversity day introduces himself as “Mr.Brown,” as Michael laughs and says “I beat the test, good one!” When in reality his name was actually Mr. Brown, (black male) as Michael shows how little he interacts with other races. Reinforcing norms of real issues, because if people aren’t exposed to other cultures and traditions they may not be able to understand them and might accidentally insult them.
Another example is when, Mr. Brown brings up the incident that happened when Michael pretended to be a black man. He decided to reenact the performance once again that Chris Rock did as he used racial slurs, insulting words, and had a “black” accent. This is when Mr. Brown steps in and says this is why he came here today. Michael’s then presented with a contract that states he will follow all the rules and not offend his coworkers. He signs the contract with the name Daffy Duck and then rips it in front of everyone. This is presenting viewers with the idea that white males are blind to the fact that they are being racist. He sees no reason for him to need this seminar showing he superior thoughts of himself. Viewers may believe that racism is growing when in reality it has dramatically improved.
Therefore, Michael decides to hold his own mini conference for all of the workers. After he shows his short video of himself Kelly, (Indian female) receives a phone call where she needs to rush out and take it. This is when Michael stops her and says, “No! You can’t go, if you leave there will only be two left” then quickly mutters off and says, “namaste.” Michael is referring to the only other nonwhite individuals that work there. Viewers may perceive that all white males believe in stereotypes. If viewers continue to believe that this is how all white people see other races then our country will never progress. When one race feels neglected or labeled they will never feel equal, and that is what we are working towards.
In the next scene, Michael has a the great idea of writing different races on note cards and handing them randomly to each person. Everyone puts the notecard on their head and are told to figure out what race they are. Michael slaps on his head a “ Martin Luther King Junior” nite card which obviously is not a race; playing into his idiotic view of the world around him. Michael tells them to dive into the stereotypes which is when Dwight, (white male) goes up to Pam who has a notecard with the word “Jewish” on her forehead and says to her, “Shalom, I’d like to apply for a loan.” Pam quickly responds saying sarcastically, “ That’s nice Dwight.” Viewers may perceive white males as blaring racists, which will just lead to more tension between all races. Also some people truly are just ignorant to what the other race are like because they don’t understand what has become a social norm. That is what the character Michael is showing, he is the definition of a close minded, stereotyper who knows nothing besides what lives in his own Caucasian bubble.
Furthermore, Kelly walks back in and Michael says in an “Indian” accent, “Oh Kelly, welcome to my convient store!” Which is when Kelly slaps him across the face and storms out. He influences viewers to see that this is what some white people believe about all Indians, that they work only at convince stores and all have a strong accent. Michael finishes off the episode with a “buena vista Oscar!” Just to solidify the fact that he represents all white males as racists idiots.
In the end, viewers are supposed to see how there needs to be more of a cultural transmission with all races.“The Office” does a great job showing how racist and ignorant some people can be in a numerous manner. The character Michael is the totality of a person living in the wrong decade with traditional values. He doesn’t succumb to the worlds norms. Working with other races and cultures is a daily thing that most people don’t even think about because it is so natural. Our society has become very accepting of al different type of people and their backgrounds. This episode of “The Office” does an amazing job of singling out those who still live in the past and why you shouldn’t act that way. This show will ultimately impact viewers to look into themselves at their values and actions to see where they stand, along with hopes of changing society for the better.