Sunday, March 6, 2016
A Diverse Hero or Heroine
We’ve all seen and heard the dissension lately about the lack of diversity on some TV but mostly in the movies. The old way of thinking goes something like the majority of people watching (or reading) are white so give them white heroes and heroines. This has always been short sighted, as so many TV programs have shown. Nowadays, young and new adults are colorblind. The majority of people in the US will soon be non-white, so why not reflect the real needs of Americans.
What about what's right or wrong?
I confess, I marched for civil and equal rights. We older writers might notice things differently than our younger readers. A liberal writer might feel guilty not seeing any other race in the lead role. The same might be said, nowadays, for a cultural conservative. They’d say let the most talented rise to the top. These are people who love Doctor Carson. The point: We all might see color, our younger readers won’t. This is why whoever you write as your hero or heroine, make that person and their problems compelling and be colorblind.
Is the Academy of Arts and Sciences prejudiced in practice? I don’t know.
Is the popular TV franchise the Bachelor/Bachelorette failing to be diverse? I do know. Paul Lee, ABC Entertainment Group President and The Bachelor producer, Mike Fleiss are tweaking the system for choosing the next lead, not by simply picking the one who has the maximum exposure. Near and dear to my heart is the gorgeous half-Filipina woman, Caila, who is expected to get the nod as next Bachelorette. My wife is Filipina. Please know that the show has had many people of color on it, they just haven’t won with the notable exception of another Filipina, Catherine, who married her “Bachelor,” Sean.
Hallmark Romance TV movies (there are hundreds of them) has always had white heroes and heroines. It’s embarrassing (as I have remarked before).
So, consider that your younger hero/heroine is very likely to be colorblind if you tell the story true.
Pitfall for writers: infusing your young characters with the mindset you carried through another era.