This Week in Diversity: More Colorful

Happy Friday! We begin this week with some progress on the publishing front: lots of conversations going on right now among booksellers about how to sell multicultural titles, especially to white readers. Check out this great post by Elizabeth Bluemle as well as a discussion by the fine folks at Random House. It’s heartening to see so many different kinds of book people—publishers, booksellers, and readers—assuming responsibility and making it their mission to support diversity.

And speaking of progress, for TV lovers who’ve spent the summer in the desert of bad reruns, this week marked the return to fresh programming on most major networks. But is this year’s lineup—in the words of NBC—actually more colorful? Two shows give us hope:

“Outsourced” is a comedy about a Midwest guy who finds himself transplanted to India to manage a call center. There’s potential for some serious stereotyping, but the New York Times says the show “tries to build a bigger story around the opening joke. And that’s liberating. South Asians are no longer an exotic minority that needs to be sheltered from comic stereotypes.”

“Undercovers” has also been getting lots of buzz- no less for its two black leads than for the fact that it’s JJ Abrams’ (“Lost,” Undercovers“Alias“) newest project. Can you remember the last time a major network (besides UPN) threw so much support behind a dramatic series featuring African American main characters? It was the 2006 show Daybreak, which was canceled after 6 episodes. “Undercovers” may not be able to make up for 4+ years of a lack of diversity in television, but it’s a step in the right direction. And it sure looks like a lot of fun.

I haven’t watched either show yet, but am looking forward to it. What about you? If you’ve watched these shows (or others worth paying attention to), what did you think?

One Comment

  1. Posted September 27, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I watched the pilot for Undercovers over the weekend on hulu. I actually liked it a lot. It was smart, funny, and well done. The characters made for a solid leading couple and they both convincingly played the agent roles well. I also appreciated the international feel of the show in both switching up locales between, Spain, France, and Russia, and conversing in all the different languages in rapid succession.


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