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Nov 29

Written by: Diana West
Saturday, November 29, 2008 2:36 PM 

Catching up on Coloring the News by William McGowan, a marvelously depressing book (just about my favorite kind) that analyzes, almost psychoanalyzes, the diversity orthodoxy as practiced by acolytes throughout the media who daily pledge Diversity and Social Justice for all.The book came out shortly after 9/11/01 at a time when my own reading list skewed jihadist (alas). Question is, now that we, as a nation, have elected our FBP (first black prez) do we finally get to forget about turning individual human beings into colored game counters? Do we get to stop worrying about "achieving diversity" through the quotas and set-asides that the powers-that-be presently use to order our society?

Um, no.

Indeed, more is on the way. From the New York Times:

"TV Casting May Feel an Obama Effect":

It may say something about the state of American television that there is one more black president-elect of the United States than there are black actors with individual lead roles in a network television drama.

You know, it may say something, indeed...but funny thing--I NEVER thought about that. Just goes to show...what? I'm not race-obsessed? Can you imagine the story conference between writer and editor that produced this arts page piece?

W: Gee, boss--have you ever thought about the fact that there's one more black president-elect than there are black actors with individual lead roles in a network television drama?

E: By golly, you're right. But after years of ensemble dramas sprinkled with nonwhite supporting actors, it's time for change, if not hope. Give me 30 inches ASAP.

Back to the story:

But after years of ensemble dramas sprinkled with nonwhite supporting actors the excitement surrounding the election of Barack Obama could help to open doors for more minorities in leading dramatic roles, executives from television production studios said.

Ben Silverman, the co-chairman of NBC Entertainment who oversees the network’s television studio, said that he and the head of the diversity initiative for NBC Universal Paula Madison, have been pushing for projects starring minorities.

Mr. Silverman said, We were going after this regardless, but I don’t think you can deny the power that Barack Obama brings in magnifying this direction in our world.” He added,We’ve all been colorblind for years, but the results don’t necessarily match up to our intentions.”

Of course, if you've been colorblind for years, how can you tell? The story goes on (and on), noting the absence of blacks in leading roles--in solo leading roles as opposed to leading roles in an ensemble cast, which, apparently, the bean-counters won't count. And woe to cable TV:

Cable’s recent list of single-star dramas is also notable for its roster of white stars, including shows like “The Shield,” “The Closer,” “Saving Grace,” “Dexter,” “Monk,” “Burn Notice,” “Breaking Bad” and “Damages.”

Tim Reid, who was the star and an executive producer of the Emmy-winning comedy series “Frank’s Place” for CBS in the 1987-88 season — and who recently wrote, with the white comic Tom Dreesen, “Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White” about their days as a stand-up team — has been outspoken about the continued limited opportunities for minorities in television.

Himself excepted, I am assuming.

“If the president-elect should have any positive influence over the so-called liberal base of Hollywood, it will be by focusing their attention on the reality of the kind of multicultural world we actually live in,” Mr. Reid said in an e-mail message. “This doesn’t just mean putting another person of color in front of the camera, but giving them an equal opportunity in having a say-so in what is created for the camera.”

Hollywood Office of Equal Oportunity in Front Of and Behind the Camera, anyone? 





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