Monday, August 23, 2010

Broadcast television largely lily white
Shaping opinions of a nation
About diversity: race and age
Needs to change RIGHT NOW!

A rerun of The Steve Harvey Show was on the gym television. It got me thinking. When was the last time you saw a person of color on television? Right off the bat, I thought Kunal Nayyar who plays Raj on Big Bang Theory. That was all I could initially come up with.

Cougar Town, Chuck, Two and A Half Men, Modern Family, The Office, Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, Jonas L.A., Good Luck Chuck and pretty much every show on television is lily white. The series V has a black person on it, Morris Chestnut. Upcoming Hellcats will have Robbie Jones. Believe Scubs is gone, so that doesn’t count.

People of color make up less than one-fifth of our nation. Hispanic is not a race; it’s a heritage same as I’m Irish; 1997 was the first time it was called an ethnicity by the U.S. Census Bureau. In 1919, Italian was a listed ethnicity in North America. (If you think race and ethnicity are confusing, look what Uganda lists as race and ethnicity; Baganda 17%, Ankole 8%, Basoga 8%, Iteso 8%, Bakiga 7%, Langi 6%, Rwanda 6%, Bagisu 5%, Acholi 4%, Lugbara 4%, Batoro 3%, Bunyoro 3%, Alur 2%, Bagwere 2%, Bakonjo 2%, Jopodhola 2%, Karamojong 2%, Rundi 2%, non-African (European, Asian, Arab) 1%, other 8%.)

People of the Mongolian race are largely unrepresented on television, too. So we’re lacking black people, Native Americans, Indians – except for Raj, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, etc.

I was going to point to the Disney Channel, probably the largest influence on young minds, as especially guilty of this; but truth is, every broadcast station is guilty of overt discrimination.

For more than 50 years television has shaped public tastes and opinions. Look at newscasts. Maybe one or two faces other than Caucasian per newscast; that’s it. What message does this send to our children – even our minority children – only play with white kids? That’s the exact message it sends.

We have a government agency that is suppose to regulate this bigotry, and there’s no other word; the Federal Communications Commission. Look at the photo of the commission at the top; what do you see? Yes, 20 percent non-Caucasian representation.

As Boston Legal said on its Juiced episode, it was the only show featuring a cast over 50. Now the only two shows I can think of starring people over 50 are Ed O’Neill of Modern Family and Betty White of Hot in Cleveland – and that’s a cable, not broadcast, show.

Will the USA’s 21st Century second decade lay the groundwork for many more decades of white supremacy? That’s the road television and the nation are headed down; since television shapes culture!

It is a sin and crime what message broadcast television is sending to the world about our country. We need to change –right now!

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