“A lot of the questions I get about race are really annoying,” [Shonda] Rhimes said. “I get a lot of ‘Why is it so hard to cast people of color?’ questions. My answer is always ‘Why are you asking me that question? Why don’t you ask someone who is not casting people of color? … I would rather you just look at the work. Because the world of television should look like the world outside.”
The fact is, Hollywood has found it extremely difficult to cast people of color as stars in TV shows. Forget about Seinfeld or HBO’s Girls presenting a New York that seems mostly devoid of nonwhite people; even ABC’s fall comedy Manhattan Love Story has few nonwhite supporting characters, despite its setting in one of the most diverse cities in the nation.
Looming in the background is a question you would think TV had settled years ago: Will mostly white network television audiences watch shows with mostly nonwhite casts and subject matter?
I am tired of this question. If it’s a well-written show, especially if it’s starring Viola Davis, I will, as a white person, watch it. In fact, I will go out of my way to watch this show. So there, Network Television Execs. Take that.