This is a topic I have wanted to talk about for a while now. I feel like right now there is so much diversity on television, and it makes me happy. Is it enough? Hell, no. However, it’s a start.
So this is going to be short. I’m going to list a bunch of 2014-2015 television shows, and tell you why I love the show and what I find problematic with the show. Here is something I want you to remember that I think a lot of people forget: You can love/like a show, and still have issues with what is problematic with the show.
I am only going to list what I find problematic with characters/shows that have Latin@s on them. I don’t feel I should comment on something that isn’t from my own community. However, I will still point out what I love.
Jane The Virgin, Mondays at 8pm (CW)
What I love: Jane’s grandmother speaks to her in Spanish. Jane replies in English. Jane struggles to speak Spanish, but she obviously understands it fluently. On the show, you occasionally see her struggle to say something in Spanish to her grandmother.
You don’t understand how much it means to me to see something like this on television. Growing up my parents would talk to me in Spanish, but I ALWAYS responded in English. I honestly, don’t believe I am the only one out there who grew up this way, which is why it means so much to me.
Also, this show is supper funny. The characters are outrages and over the top. Gina Rodriguez is amazing. You should also check out Filly Brown, while you are at it. She’s amazing in it. I think, it’s still on Netflix instant play.
What’s problematic: I would say the usual. What do I mean by the usual? We have light skin people of color on television with European features. This show is only 6 episodes in…I hope I see some diversity within the Latin@ spectrum.
Cristela, Fridays at 9pm (ABC)
What I love: Aside from the fact I can relate to this show on a personal level, the show does a great job at demonstrating microaggressions. Cristela combatants the microaggressions with humor, and I think it’s important to see that on television.
What’s problematic: Honestly, there’s a lot. Instead of listing everything, I’m going to list what comes to mind first. The way Alberto consistently pursues Cristela, even though she is not interested. I hate this trope. I wish for once a woman says no, and the man backs off. (Yes, I know it happens. It just doesn’t happen enough). Secondly, the Halloween episode. They didn’t differentiate Halloween and Day of the Dead. They made it seem as though it fell on the same day, and that people sitting around on Day of the Dead telling ghost stories.
Black.ish, Wednesday’s at 9:30 on ABC
What I love: I love this show, because it talks about the in between space, which isn’t something I have ever seen talked about in my life. It’s also something I can REALLY relate to. The show specifically address issues pertaining to the black community about not being “black enough.” The first episode is focuses on that, but it’s not the only thing they talk about. It is a Family show that addresses family issues. The only differences is they don’t erase the fact that this is a black family whose black identity navigates the way they interact and see the world.
What’s problematic: I did some research, and although this particular video is outdated (meaning they made this video before the show came out). I still want to post it. They brought up stuff I never had to think about because of my own privileges. Also, I watched a few other of their videos, and I like their channel.
(I wrote the first portion before I researched the “What’s problematic” section. /I wrote this article in the course of a few weeks).
Coming in January 2015
Fresh off the Boat
I am looking forward to watching this show. This show will be the first Asian American comedy, since All-American Girl. This is long over due for a community that is completed ignored in the media.
All in all, the lack of diversity on tv is really ugly. I’m happy things are starting to change, and I hope they continue to change. We need shows like this, as much as we need characters of color on other tv programs.
As much as I love Cristela and Jane the Virgin, I don’t want to be separated from other television shows. Yes, I love shows that center around my culture, but that’s NOT all I want to watch. I want shows that are inclusive to communities color, including my own. I want to watch television just like everyone else, and see something other than white people on television.