by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson
The Notes on Fostering Activism series is designed to open up dialogue regarding community action, activism, patterns of thought, and overlapping issues within various causes and communities. Some posts will deal with race, but some will not. All are encouraged to share their experiences – both here, and experiences in other social, cultural, or political communities.
In writing and researching the Cashmere Mafia piece, I ran across an article from Newsday (originally from the LA Times) titled “Diversity Issue Dogs Creators of New TV Shows.”
Written late last year, it appears that most of the story is still accurate:
HOLLYWOOD – Race relations are taking a starring role in several new culturally tinged series this fall. Fox’s “K-Ville,” ABC’s “Cavemen,” CBS’ “Cane” and The CW’s “Aliens in America” and “Life Is Wild” couldn’t be more different in incorporating cultural flavor. “Cane” examines the criminal dealings of a loving Cuban family, while “Aliens in America” is a satirical look at the prejudice that greets the arrival of a Pakistani student in a small town. “Life Is Wild” follows a white family that moves to Africa.
And “Cavemen” has been labeled by network president Stephen McPherson and ABC’s marketing department as a funny commentary about race relations with a “new minority group.” In one respect, the new shows are different from series already on the air, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” that take place in a “color-blind” world, in that they will confront race, cultural pride and conflict directly.
But with all five shows, it’s not a person of color who will be steering that vision – as with much of network television, the series have white male show runners.
Show runners, like writers and producers, help to shape the final product we see hitting our screens every week. While the scribes for the show may have one idea for the direction and casting of the show, the show runners and lead producers also have input and sway and tend to make changes with impunity. Getting a perspective on race on television from one of them would be fascinating, right?
Unfortunately, the resounding answer from all the studio people in the the know will be a brusque “no comment:” Continue reading