Just a few days ago The Bunche Center at UCLA published a study on diversity in film and television. The data is based on material that was released in 2011 (films) or aired in 2011-2012 (tv shows). Among the major findings of the study are these two bullet points:
- Films with relatively diverse casts excelled at the box office and in return on investment.
- Television shows whose casts reflect the nation’s diversity excelled in ratings.
According to NPR’s blog Codeswitch, the study’s lead author and director of the Bunche Center, Darnell Hunt, says:
“It’s a vicious cycle,” he added. “The industry likes to present itself as this bastion of liberal thought. But when it comes to diversity, it’s one of the worst industries in the country. The idea that [the underrepresentation of minorities and women] is all about economics has been taken off the table.”
Indeed. Because people like stories about people they can identify with, one way or another. Because we’re not all the same. Because hypocrisy needs to be counteracted.