Anyone who has read this blog knows that I’m a fan of the HBO show Girls. Girls isn’t without its problems though. Early on it was criticized for not showing a single person of colour, ever, which is strange considering it takes place in a city as diverse as Brooklyn. Apparently the show’s creator, Lena Dunham, is trying to remedy this by featuring African American actor Donald Glover as a recurring character next season.
Now some may say that this is a sign of progress but I’ve always wondered, why is it that television shows usually only look to black people as a way to show diversity?
When I think about diversity in my own life I think about my last job and my co-workers, which included people that were of French, Polish, Eritrean, Ukrainian, Iranian, Egyptian, Indian, Filipino and Jamaican descent. I think about my old neighbourhood and my friends whose parents came from Serbia, Scotland, Iraq and Korea. And of course there is my own family’s background, as I am half British and half Indian. What’s funny is that even this list is just a small sample of the kind of people that I encounter day after day.
We have a long way to go before television depicts the real diversity that most of us see day to day. After all, diversity is not about depicting just two races on television. There is a whole wide world of people to choose from. The sooner television and movie execs decide to showcase the world we actually live in, the better.