friday favorites: diversity
Today’s Friday Favorites is a little more…ideological. Haha. But I really felt called to write about this topic, so here we go!
I recently watched the entire season of HBO’s Girls (10 half-hour episodes) in a night and a day. To be completely honest with you, there were times when I wanted to stop watching, and not start watching again. I made it all the way to the season finale, though, and I’m glad I did because it was a shocker. (Um, Jessa?!?!)
The series is about four post-grad girls (pictured above) who are trying to figure out their lives (and pay the rent) in New York City.
Naturally, after viewing the series I searched online with my trusty friend Google to see the internet’s response to the show. I was especially interested because of my own mixed feelings about liking it but not 100%.
One of the first responses that came up (while searching on my phone) was written by the one and only James Franco. So I read it.
Here’s an excerpt that stood out to me:
Supporters of the show usually say its lack of diversity reflects the social segregation of our country, and they have a point. Going to high school in Palo Alto, I definitely saw cliques form along racial lines. But the argument is harder to swallow when the subjects are educated twenty-somethings in New York City. Maybe I have a limited perspective, because the programs I was in were extremely diverse, but I’ve found that my friends and collaborators hail from a rich background of races and nationalities. I guess all I have to say about the topic is that, because TV is such a popular medium, HBO has a responsibility to represent its subjects accurately, especially when the network is selling a show as a representation of young New York. There’s no obligation to be kaleidoscopic, but there is a difference between writing a short story or essay about a bunch of white people that only a handful of people will read and creating another show about white people that millions of people will watch, especially when you’ve chosen to set that show in one of the most culturally mixed cities in the world. (HBO says it doesn’t tell its creators what to do with their shows, and Dunham has written at least one African-American character, played by Community star Donald Glover, into Season 2.)
I have to admit that while watching the show, I didn’t notice the lack of minorities (at least, consciously). I didn’t have any trouble identifying with some of the characters, even though none of them looked like me. But then again, maybe that’s because as a minority in this country, you kind of learn to expect that you’re going to have to (Because you’re expected to…? That’s a whole other thing.). It becomes second-nature…or at least…it always has been for me.
Or maybe art is created to transcend race.
I’ve read some of creator Lena Dunham’s rebuttal to criticism she’s received. She said she only wrote what she knew. That’s fair. And I’m not saying art has to be PC or racially-sensitive.
But I would love to see more diversity in the Girls’ NYC. I mean, it is New York City, after all.
Have you seen the show? Do you think it would benefit from more racial and cultural diversity?? Leave a comment below to start the conversation =).