Last week, I was invited to speak on PIX11 Morning News about the rise in diversity on television. The experience was the first for me (on television and LIVE!) and it really made me think about how television has changed from when I was little.
Brande Victoria, Deputy Editor of Madame Noire and Pix11 anchor Sukanya Krishnan and I discussed diversity in television and how television has evolved over the years.
Here’s the clip:
There’s been a surge in diverse tv shows, with Cristela, Blackish and On Fresh off the Boat on ABC and Jane the Virgin on PIX11. I have to say, I have always LOVED shows that show the nuances of culture and race on television, even if they can be stereotypical, because there is some truth in stereotypes… whether we like to admit it or not.
I remember watching George Lopez and relating to many of the issues that George Lopez’s daughter, Carmen, was going through, dating, shaving legs, boys… Let’s just say Hispanic parents have very different views and it was always a struggle: your parents want you to be raised their way, but you’re American, and in America… and sometimes you just want to be like other kids… which is exactly what Eddie, from On Fresh off the Boat is going through; the poor kid just wants to eat Lunchables like everyone else!
A while back I wrote a post entitled “My Wish list for a Hispanic American TV Show” in it, I wrote about the things that I wanted to see on television… the first thing listed is that I wished we were depicted in other roles, not just maids and gardeners. Well, Cristela is a law student, I’d say it’s an improvement. Jane the Virgin’s grandmother is a character that ONLY speaks Spanish. That is pretty amazing, being on an English-Language channel. I’d say that culture is front and center on these television shows, and I’m so happy that’s the case.
I think we are making great strides, but of course, I think there is still more we can do. Gina Rodriguez’ win at the Golden Globes shows that 1. We are a talented bunch and 2. We want to see our culture represented 3. We are only getting started.
Why do we need diverse shows? First, let’s just discuss the numbers… whether people like it or not, the reality is, we are a diverse nation. Over a third of our nation is African-American, Hispanic, Asian or 2 or more races. It is estimated that in about 2040 the “minorities” will be the majority… 50 percent of the kids born in 2013 were minorities… Times are changing, television should change to reflect the society we live in.
Diverse characters can show that while we are different, we are also the same. On Fresh off the Boat the Huang family moved from DC to Orlando searching for better opportunities… they are entrepreneurial, they are trying to pay the bills… the mom is trying to make sure her kids get the best education… anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity can relate to that. We all want to make ends meet, provide the best for our kids, do better than our parents did.
So here we are, it is 2015 and the television landscape is becoming more diverse… diversity is here to stay, and hopefully one day it will reflect the true composition of our very beautiful and multicultural USA.
Have you seen the new shows on television? Do you like or dislike them? Why? Share your thoughts below!