A new study carried out by the positive and progressive racial injustice organisation Color of Change has revealed that less 5% of TV’s writers are black.
A worrying discovery below…
Keen to fight inequality, the organisation called on the reputable Darrell Hunt of UCLA to lead the investigation.
His findings are set to disturb proponents of healthy diversity.
Networks and streaming companies are systematically excluding black talent from the writers’ room, according to the research. The study examined all 234 of the original, scripted comedy and drama series airing or streaming on eighteen networks during the 2016-2017 television season. Strikingly, 65 percent of all writers’ rooms had zero black writers, and less than 5 percent of writers were black. These hiring decisions are made by showrunners, and the report finds that 91 percent of showrunners across all 18 networks were white and 80 percent were men. The report finds that in the 17 percent of cases where there is a single Black writer in a room, they are often excluded from influencing the creative process—especially when it comes to topics of race—and passed over for advancement. Out of nine procedural crime dramas analyzed, zero had black showrunners, and only one had multiple black writers Only 13.6 percent of shows led by white showrunners had two or more black writers in the writers’ room. By contrast, every writers’ room led by a black showrunner had multiple white writers.
Mr. Hunt added…
Leaders in the entertainment industry today realize they are going to have to adapt to changing market conditions with respect to content. We know it’s profitable to create more diverse content, even though the conventional wisdom about what sells—and how marketable and profitable genuinely multi-racial content is—often trails quite far behind the data. The exclusion of black writers from television writers’ rooms has far-reaching consequences. Too often, the exclusion of black writers from writers’ rooms results in content that furthers stereotypical, inaccurate and harmful representations of black people. This dynamic is especially evident in the proliferation of harmful stereotypes about black people in procedural crime dramas. One black writer, who worked on several crime procedurals for which she was the lone black writer, described how “we had a dynamic where the good guy is white and blue-eyed and all of the bad people were people of color.
‘Shadow & Act‘ adds…
It says that these programs, “may actually create a perverse disincentive to real inclusion of black writers and authentic portrayals of Black people in writers’ rooms. Multiple writers interviewed in the report say that showrunners often cycle through writers of color for the year or two they get them “free of charge” through the network diversity programs, and then dispose of them once they require a real budget to support (in favor of another, junior “free writer). This cycle gives a false appearance of inclusion, while actually limiting the ability of a critical mass of writers of color to build seniority over time and gain influence in the industry.
What do you make of this news?