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Race and the City or Why Do the White Girls Always Sit Together on Television

pjeridos Icon Posted by Patricia Jerido

June 13th, 2008

In a recent interview, Sex and the City (SATC) producer Michael King said he added an African-American character to the cast (played in the movie by Jennifer Hudson) as a response to African American women saying to him that they love the show “but where are the sisters?”

While it is great to see Mr. King respond to those requests (no boycott or petitions required!), at GoLeft we had to ask, what NY are you living in where people of color are not prominent in your image of NY?

The all-white NY is ubiquitous on television and the movies though white people make up only 44% of the population. In fact most television shows that support a multi-racial casts take place outside of NYC, including NBC’s Scrubs (L.A.), ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy (Seattle); and Sci-Fi’s Battlestar Galactica (space). ABC’s Ugly Betty is a great exception, though the show has less of a NYC feel, and NBC’s 30 Rock has done the most in provocative discussions on race (check out the episodes on Liz Lemon’s Middle-Eastern neighbor and Tracy Morgan’s appeal to Black people to vote republican).

In popular culture race is either ignored or best dealt with satirically. The hard work of teaching, acknowledging and reminding people of past and present racial injustices and the permanent systems in place to perpetuate racial divisions are left to progressive organizers who are pushing this agenda (and they’re a small segment of progressive organizers). The recent short-lived excitement over Barack Obama’s speech on race provided the greatest cultural opportunity of late, to touch on divisions among people and highlight the difficulty in having these conversations.

Read more here.

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