No More ‘Fake Diversity’ on Screen. It’s About Quality, as Well as Quantity1 min readReading Time: < 1 minute
I worked at the BBC for 24 years, eight years as a senior executive in Scotland. One of the most “W1A” moments (a popular sitcom that poked fun at the corporation’s PC bureaucracy) of my time there was when a task force from London came to have a meeting with staff in Scotland. The meeting was to discuss what “authentic” Scottish portrayal in our programs should look like.
After discussions about the fact that it had nothing to do with how many people are wearing kilts on camera or how much bagpipe music is played in the program, the meeting came to an end. I don’t think we came to any conclusion except simply that putting a Scottish person on screen was not enough.
In the book I recently wrote with actor Lenny Henry, Access All Areas – The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond, we talked about this very issue, drawing attention to “fake diversity”, or what Lenny terms “Milli Vanilli diversity” in which the diversity is only cosmetic.
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