Last night, Deadline’s TV editor Nellie Andreeva trolled hard with an articlequestioning whether or not diversity on TV has gone too far. Unsurprisingly, her controversial arguments — backed repeatedly by the problematic phrase “ethnic casting” — drew an almost immediate backlash on Twitter from writers, viewers, industry-watchers, and even showrunners like Shonda Rhimes. Given some of its head-scratching, tone-deaf, and indefensibly racist undertones, “Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings – About Time or Too Much of Good Thing?” warrants an in-depth look into what, exactly, makes her words so troublesome.
1. “Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings – About Time or Too Much of Good Thing?”
Let’s start with the headline. Just when Shonda Rhimes thought it couldn’t get any worse than the word diversity, Andreeva takes us back to the 19th century, when racists still referred to nonwhites as “ethnics” — and got away with it. FYI, for those unfamiliar with the term’s etymology, we are all “ethnic.” The very word, by Merriam-Webster’s definition, means “of or relating to races or large groups of people who have the same customs, religion, origin, etc.” That’s right! White people are “ethnic,” too. And using the term to suggest anything otherwise — in this case, that it denotes only people of color — is a dangerous, slippery slope. Also, “casting term” — as she defends her use of the word in the article’s first sentence — or not, it’s irresponsible to repeat it.
2. “But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal.”
But whatever will white actors do with all the “ethnic” actors stealing their parts on TV? Oh, that’s right, still enjoy the other 70 to 80 percent of network-TV parts. But someone, please, check on all the white actors and make sure they’re okay!
3. “However, because of a mandate from the studio and network, one of the roles had to diverse [sic], so the pilot could only cast one of the top choices and pass on the other to fulfill the ethnic quota.”
If you are truly of the mind that Hollywood now has some sort of “ethnic quota” to fill, given minorities still only make up about 5 percent of lead roles on TV shows, then I have a magic carpet ride to sell you…
Check out the rest of this article found on vulture.com.