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Monday, July 20, 2015

The Emmy Nominations and What We Mean When We Talk About Diversity

I hate to be a downer, but I know folks are psyched to see so much great black talent, like Taraji P. Henson, Reg E. Cathey and Anthony Anderson, recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in last week's Emmy Award nominations as we all should be, really. And I am too, I really am. I salute my fellow bloggers for praising the Academy for acknowledging diversity, but is this really diversity? I mean, there are almost strictly black or white talent being honored on this list. Where are the awesome Latino actors like Gina Rodriguez from Jane the Virgin (who delivers a great performance on a decent show) or Asian American and Indian American onscreen talent like the hilarious Constance Wu from Fresh Off the Boat and the amazing Nimrat Kaur from Homeland? American Crime's Richard Cabral is pretty much representing the entire Latino quota. Go ahead and look for yourself...I'll wait.

Granted, we have Michael Goi, who's nominated in the outstanding cinematography category for his direction of an American Horror Story: Freak Show episode and Luyen Vu, whose editing of an American Crime episode earned him a nomination. But, just as the Oscars marginalize genre films by confining them in the technical categories, the Television Academy does the same with talent of color. Is that the diversity we're talking about, the kind of diversity that isn't intersectional? The kind that excludes certain ethnic groups? Not only is that problematic, but it shows how far we haven't actually come in taking strides toward acceptance in entertainment and beyond. This is unacceptable, and that needs to be acknowledged.

And how is it that Niecy Nash is the only woman of color nominated for acting in a comedy series? HOW? The academy seems to have remembered Anthony Anderson from Black-ish, but somehow forgot about, like, the entire rest of the cast of that show (because, seriously, they're all great). Not even Tracee Ellis Ross, who's been killing the game for years on TV? *insert a million side eyes here*

Also, and I'm sure awards geeks will be quick to remind me that the Wachowskis' Sense8 series didn't make the awards deadline, but I just hope that folks don't forget how great transgender actress Jamie Clayton was throughout the season. While the show was...a bit all over the place, her performance really stuck with me.

Listen, I'm not trying to preach hyper political correctness here, but if we're going to talk about diversity, then we need to really talk about diversity as an inclusion discussion. Why hasn't this already been happening?


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