Diversity in Television: The New Normal



Hollywood, specifically television has made pretty large strides for diversity in the past year. Popular shows such as How to Get Away with Murder and Quantico have diverse cast members and leads. This diversity is important because it not only represents a diverse group of viewers but fortifies what Shonda Rimes, creator of How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal, and Greys Anatomy calls the new “normal”.

The new normal is not only having a diverse array of leads in shows, but having them in regular roles not specified as a certain race. The lead should be in a role any race could play. It’s a way of breaking down stereotypes that are often placed on characters that are African American, Asian, or Hispanic. This opens up a variety of roles for actors. It not only represents a variety of people but it’s more accurate.

Shonda Rimes has done a great job in “normalizing” her cast. How To Get Away with Murder stars Viola Davis, who plays a successful lawyer. Scandal stars a very politically successful African American woman. Greys Anatomy features a variety of African American, Asian, and Hispanic doctors. Their races aren’t often mentioned so the characters aren’t defined by it. Rimes isn’t the only one making these strides, shows like Fresh of the Boat, Blackish and Quantico are doing the same. Quantico has included a Bollywood star, Priyanka Chopra, who became the first south Asian woman to star on an American series. Fresh of the Boat stars an Asian-American family, and Blackish stars an African American family.

As television is becoming more diverse, people are beginning to see themselves represented in their favorite shows. It’s important to see people of different races in a variety of settings because it’s more realistic. It’s not likely all people are only exposed to one race all their lives, they are going to be exposed to a multitude.

The diversity that is beginning to be seen on television is important. It represents everyone and promotes the new “normal”. Although this is a positive step, there are still many to be taken, in places such as movies, books, and even in everyday lives. Hopefully this will happen soon.