Someone could ask every black person in this world, is television not diverse enough? The majority answer would be, “Yes, there is not a lot of diversity to be found.” According to bhsroarnation.com, the airing of The Queen’s Messenger in September of 1928 became the first television show that was aired to the world which had an all Caucasian cast. Eventually over the years, African Americans (AA) began appearing more on television but it still lagged far behind from what it should be for the demographics of the U.S. But a person could ask themselves, “After all the years of racism that still exist to this day, do we expect anything else?”
In my opinion, African Americans, as a community, should be fighting for more public appearances on television. Even though the percentage of them on television has grown tremendously over the years, there’s still something missing. Imagine an AA child growing up and only seeing people that don’t look anything like them. What are they supposed to think? Or vice versa, watching a Caucasian child grow up and that child see’s nothing but the “Cosby Show” or “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, to get some sense of normality of who they are.
As a child, I can admit I enjoyed those cartoons and tv shows where the cast was predominantly white, but adding that little dash of color would’ve been amazing. Sometimes I think to myself, why does representation matter? Because witnessing only white people on screen affects colored people in so many ways. Then, unfortunately, blacks begin to wonder if they are socially acceptable. Most people in the TV business tend to look at blacks as loud, comical, uneducated, or sassy.
Instead of hiring people of color for roles, the television industry tends to cast white actors to play people of color. According to cvhsolympian.com , Hollywood has been continually practicing whitewashing since the beginning of the entertainment industry. In 1915, “Birth of a Nation” was released and it was so orderly racist that they applied a black face on white actors. I always wondered to myself why producers did that. Is it because blacks aren’t expressing enough? Or is it just the fact that their skin color is black?
In all other job categories reviewed in the report, men hold twice as many jobs as women and whites hold at least twice as many as minorities. Still, there are signs of continued, although slow, improvement. Of all lead acting slots on broadcast shows in 2018–19, people of color held 24.0 percent, almost a fivefold increase from 2011–12 when it was 5.1 percent. Among digital programs, just 10.3 percent of show creators were minorities; in broadcast, 10.7 percent; and for cable, 14.7 percent. Women held 28.6 percent of show creator titles for digital programs, 28.1 percent for broadcast and 22.4 percent for cable.
According to a news report from the University of California, white men still dominate the high-level TV executive jobs. As of 2020, chair/CEO positions were overwhelmingly held by white people (92.0 percent) and men (68.0 percent); and the statistics were similar for senior executives (84.0 percent white, 60.0 percent male) and unit heads (87.0 percent white, 54.0 percent male). The underrepresentation of people of color in the executive suite, and as creators, writers and directors is problematic, even if there are more people of color in acting roles. When people of color do not control their own narrative, their characters’ storylines may lack authenticity, may be written stereotypically or their characters may even be depicted as raceless.