Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Girls is the Whitest Show on Television, Other Than Every Other Show

The New York Times used the race-based Girls backlash (opposed to the class and nepotism based backlash) to look at how race is represented on television, or, more appropriately, it isn’t. The author writes:

"Television is nowhere near diverse enough — not in its actors, its writers or its show runners. The problems identified by critics of Girls are systemic, traceable to network executives who greenlight shows and shoot down plenty of others. It’s at that level that diversity stands or falls."

He points to vastly more popular shows like Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother that are equally as monochromatic, if not more so, but don't get as much scrutiny because they tend to exist outside the critical spotlight. And boy is Girls in the critical spotlight – it seems like nearly 80% of its viewers are spotlight-wielding critics. As a result, it becomes the centerpiece of larger pieces about media and race and gender. It's not its fault but it's not not its fault.

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  • http://twitter.com/joshung Joshua Ungerleider

    I'd like to see a study done to see how diverse actual groups of friends tend to be in real life, even in more diverse areas like New York.

    I grew up in a pretty diverse town, and honestly, the groups of friends you'd see tended to consist of people who looked a lot like each other. If a white guy writes a show, he might write the entire cast as white, because those are the people he knows.

    I don't know what shows are getting shot down, but I'd say the problem lies there. I don't think they need to force diversity in each so as much as they should try to have a more diverse lineup.

    • B Westof@twitter

      @Joshua Ungerleider Exactly. Especially this group of characters. Throwing someone into this cast simply to add color would seem out of place and take away the realism that they are trying to create.

      There is a much stronger argument when it's a show like Friday Night Lights (which I loved) that is set in Texas but has no Latino main characters.

  • Dennis Hinkamp@facebook

    As Charles Barkly's character said on SNL White People's Problems "that problem is so white it should go snow boarding.