Colorblind TV : primetime politics of race in television casting
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Colorblind TV: Primetime Politics of Race in Television Casting posits that in our current racially colorblind society, oftentimes actors of color are cast to prove that multiculturalism is important. However, the characters often have little cultural specificity and are only different in terms of skin tone. While this type of sameness on the surface may appear to offer a sense of racial parity, it actually encourages the opposite. Colorblindness works to make race immutable and objective, which inevitably disallows difference and instead outputs “whiteness” as the normative standard. Through a series of interviews with casting directors and actors guild diversity representatives as well as an ethnographic account of an actual casting audition, the dissertation argues that for the media industry, colorblindness is both a way of avoiding the messiness of race and of denying actors of color the ability to be culturally specific. This denial occurs because ultimately the desire to work supersedes the desire to reject role universality. As a case study, I examine the hit ABC primetime show Grey’s Anatomy (2005- ) as a way of illustrating how the blindcasting process became a part of public discourse that the television industry both praised and disowned.