An exec with Walt Disney Television recently said that she has rejected some “incredibly well written scripts that did not satisfy our standards in terms of inclusion,” and that (for example) she would reject a script that’s centered on a white family with the assumption that the diversity would come with the neighbors. “That’s not going to get on the air anymore because that’s not what our audience wants. That’s not a reflection of our audience, and I feel good about the direction we’re moving.”
I agree that this is a good thing. Today I got into a debate on Reddit, however, with someone who disagreed. He called it “anti-white bigotry,” and said that the goal is to become truly colorblind, to never pay attention to race at all.
I used to think as he does. I didn’t understand white privilege until I saw I saw a cartoon where a white kid and a black kid both want to get up onto a high ledge, The white kid steps on and climbs on the black kid, and then when he’s finally up on the ledge, he says, “Okay, from now on we’re equal. Neither one of us should step on the other any more.” And the white kid goes away up top, leaving the black kid still down below.
The danger with colorblindness is that we can’t suddenly forget four hundred years of whites abusing minorities in America – making them slaves, preventing them from voting, not letting them get an education, keeping them from being able to earn a living, burning their homes and businesses whenever they start to make any progress. We can’t pretend we’ve wiped the slate clean and that everyone is now starting off from an equal footing. If showing diversity in TV programming is one small bit of progress, then I wholeheartedly support it.
(I also shared with him a video titled “How Can We Win,” whose comparison to a Monopoly game also helped me understand the importance of diversity and inclusion.)