Friday, September 23, 2011
When the Media Gets Diversity Right
I'm still flying high from last night. Why? Did I suddenly find a miracle cure for this blasted cold? No. Did I hit the Megamillions jackpot? I wish. I'm just really happy because the new season of Grey's Anatomy started last night and as usual they provided tear-jerking drama, controversial plot points and pithy banter in full living color. In other words, they managed to make full use of their diverse cast (as well as talented extras of color) without making race and/or diversity the story. It just is. Kind of like real life. Interracial couples, transracial/international adoptions, it's all in there. As are mixed race doctors, a Black chief of surgery and a poor, White, bad-ass doctor from the wrong side of the tracks. This is what I love about Grey's. They make it look so easy. And from my side of the sofa I don't see why other prime time TV shows can't figure out how to include colored folks in their casts. I don't really watch any other TV show religiously other than Grey's, but I tune in once in a while to see what's being offered and I'm astounded that so many of the new network TV shows this season still have zero actors of color in them. Not even a token Black, Asian, Latino, Mixie friend, boss, cocktail waitress can be found. Really TV world?
That's why I think I'm going to follow my Fierce and Nerdy friend, Ernessa Carter's rule and not even tune in to shows that can't figure out how to bring some color into the cast. That's just too insulting in 2011.
Ebony earlier this week) that seems to be working hard to be inclusive. I'm not a loyal reader of this magazine yet, but I almost woke the baby choking on my own glee last night as I paged through the most recent issue of Redbook magazine. Yes, Redbook.
First of all, you must know that Redbook received a total hipster makeover when former Glamour staffer Jill Herzig took over as EIC last year. But more than Glamourize the magazine, it seems someone at Redbook understands that American women actually come in multiples shapes and shades. Case in point, on page 85 they have a beauty piece on tips to keep your skin looking young. Basic women's magazine stuff. But, they break it down by ethnic group. Usually women's mags try to cover their bases by using euphemisms like 'light' and 'dark' skin and featuring some ambiguously brown woman to cover all of their bases. But this article actually breaks their tips down for -- wait for it -- "Caucasian, Latina, African-American, Asian and Indian," women. Yes, they get that specific and they actually interview ethnic dermatologists for each section, so you know the information is on point. I read a lot of magazines and I have never, ever seen beauty tips for Asian, Latina and Indian women in a mainstream publication. And it makes a difference to see yourself in the pages of a mainstream publication. It means you've been noticed. It means you matter. ( Not for nothing, they also featured Jada Pinkett-Smith as their cover model last month.) Go Redbook and please keep it up.
I'm thinking about instituting a Meltingpot Medal of Honor to media output that gets diversity right. What shows and/or magazines do you think are doing a good job?