American tv and diversity

Télé américaine et diversité

Habits are often hard to change, and the attitudes even more. It is sometimes incomprehensible. Unfortunately, the tragic events to boost of endless debate. Black Lives Matter well illustrated. If the diversity is not quite yet at the rendez-vous on our airwaves, it is yet much more for our neighbours to the South.

One might think that the african-american presence in emissions u.s. of all genres would help to mitigate tensions and to mitigate the racism. Despite positive role models, stories hard-hitting and realistic contexts, the human race has a long way to go towards social equality.

The issue of diversity on television is very present with us now. And with good reason. But in this day of the national holiday of the Americans, this is the opportunity to observe the role of diversity on their airwaves, in their series. What is disheartening is, however, clear that these players, although popular and loved, can not completely change the mentality.

The beginnings

Ethel Waters

Ethel Waters, the famous jazz singer and actress, would be the first African-American to be awarded a role in a tv series. We are in 1950 on the airwaves of the ABC. She embodied so as the title role of Beulah, a sitcom in which she is the queen of the kitchen capable of finding solutions to all the problems of her employers. Ethel left the series after the first year, deeming it derogatory to Blacks.

Amos ’n’ Andy

In the same years, the comedy Amos ’n’ Andy made the jump from radio to television. It brushed her the life of two Afro-Americans in Harlem. Fun fact, on the radio, the roles were played by two white actors who had to obviously be replaced by Alvin Childress and Spencer Williams in passing on CBS.

Large families

The Jeffersons

The 70s and 80s and 90s see the arrival of comedies featuring families of african-american. To settle with the image segregational and retrograde often reserved for Blacks, we focus on wealthy families characterized by their success. The Jeffersons (1975-1985 on CBS) is a series derived from All in the Family. It follows the daily life of a family, african-american, who leaves Queens for a luxurious area of Manhattan, proud of the success of the family business of cleaning sec. It is in this comedy that we would have seen a first interracial couple on tv.

Diff’rent Stokes

Then comes Diff’rent Stokes (1978-1986 on NBC) in which a widowed billionaire promises to her maid dying to take care of his two sons (Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges) who grew up in Harlem in poverty. Social status and culture shock were the focus of the episodes that almost always ended with a moral. The series was an international success.

The Cosby Show

The Cosby Show (1984-1992 on NBC) is without a doubt one of the american series the most well-known, having exceeded the ratings of Miami Vice or Magnum P. I. Created by Bill Cosby, it follows the Huxtable, a wealthy family in Brooklyn whose father is a doctor and mother a lawyer. The children do not have a priori no problem. There was never a question of racial profiling. Some criticized him, while others saw it as a way to reduce racial tensions in the country.

Family Matters

Family Matters (1989-1998 on ABC and then CBS) provided a portrait of an average family of Chicago taken with a small neighbor to be clumsy and intrusive, madly in love with their daughter.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996 on NBC) reveals a young singer, Will Smith, who plays a teenager from Philadelphia that his mother had sent him to board with his rich uncle in an upscale neighborhood of Los Angeles for not turning evil. The social classes are often a source of misunderstanding between the Banks, their butler and the little guy from a middle more than modest.

The Oprah Winfrey Show

It is also at this time that the queen of talk shows of the afternoon, Oprah Winfrey, made its appearance. In 1986, she enrolled as a real reference and reinvents the genre. The Oprah Winfrey Show has lasted 25 years on the airwaves of ABC and CBS, and the facilitator, which has since its own channel OWN, is always one of the most powerful women in television.

The years 2000

The last decade is marked by a diversity of genres for the series. If the families issues of diversity were confined often to the comedy, we find it now in the drama, action, reality tv. New creators Shonda Rhimes, Donald Glover and Ava DuVernay are needed. Works percussion come to remind us that the fight against racism is not won.


Black-ish (2014-2020 on ABC) is in line with the series of the previous decades while addressing angles in the socio-political. This middle class family is experiencing so much success that a series derived, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish, have seen the light of day.


Atlanta (2016-2020 on FX) paints a portrait of the current reality, african-american, with its socio-economic challenges. Two cousins trying to break into the rap scene. It addresses the romantic relationships and family without disregarding racial tensions.

This is Us

This is Us (2016-2020 on NBC) quickly enshrined in the hearts of Americans. The couple Pearson who adopted a little african-american, the racial difference is brought with a lot of delicacy as that the young Randall gets older. Adult return-visceral way to its roots is touching and adds a dimension that is very rich in the series.


In Empire (2015-2020 on Fox), Terence Howard is the incarnation of a former star of hip-hop today a powerful record producer who, for reasons of health, shall designate his successor. A fight in the family is to be expected, especially against his ex-wife, Cookie.


The comedy-drama Insecure (2016-2020 on HBO) focuses on the friendship of two soon to be thirty year olds, and challenged when it comes to a change of decade. Each episode tackles the social challenges that are often faced african-american women.

When They See Us

When They See Us (2019 on Netflix) is a series of deeply moving recounting of the trial and conviction, to be wrong, five young people (four African Americans and one Hispanic) for the rape of a jogger white in Central Park. It illustrates the injustice faced by many citizens because of the color of their skin.

The multicultural reality

Never Have I Ever

The latino community is in fact the visible minority group present within the american population. It is especially with the female characters strong and determined as in Jane the Virgin, Ugly Betty , or On My Block.

Master of None

The creators of the diversity can benefit from the digital platforms which, open to the world, are committed to excellence, looks varied and authentic. The actors and writers Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari were able to bring light to their indian culture with a lot of self-deprecating humor. In Master of None (2015-2017 on Netflix), Aziz shows us the daily mundane of an actor trying to find his place in New York. With Never Have I Ever (2020 on Netflix) Mindy is inspired by her own adolescence, tied to traditional values, to give life to a young, full-poised and determined to live the romantic experiences of his era.

Fresh Off the Boat

The leader and facilitator featured Eddy Huang has seen his autobiography is being adapted for tv. Fresh Off the Boat (2015-2020 on ABC) tells the daily life of his family came from Taiwan. It is one of the few series on a traditional chain to feature a family of asian.

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