Media Reaction Paper
Diversity is an inherent characteristic of many societies, especially the contemporary American society. Diversity pertains to the differences present in the world. Diversity in the global setting refers to the people coming from various religious and cultural backgrounds. At present, the diversity of the American society is presented in the various forms of media, such as TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, advertisement, and the internet.
What we see, hear, or read in the various forms of media tends to influence and shape our attitudes and behaviors. However, the depiction of people from the minority groups in media is often stereotypical which creates negative images of the ethnic group. As a result, the media’s portrayal of diversity affects the way stories and news are treated and the means by which members of the ethnic groups infiltrate the industry (Diverse Strategies, Inc., 2008).
A recent study conducted by Children Now reveals that around 8 to 9 pm or the “family hour” is the least ethnically diverse hour in television. Few programs with mixed cast are shown during this hour. This has an influence on the audience, especially the children, in their view on a diverse American society. The Screen Actors Guild, an organization keeping tag on the casting roles in TV and film, said that there is a decline in the roles for people belonging to the ethnic groups (Diverse Strategies, Inc., 2008).
Just as we think that the research findings are alarming, the most popular television show in the primetime, “Grey’s Anatomy,” features diversity. Grey’s Anatomy is a medical-drama series set up in the Seattle Grace Hospital where the real life of surgeons is presented as they strive to be the best in the country. The story revolves also on the struggles of the characters in attaining their goals as they deal with life, love, and relationships. The series mainly focuses on the character of Meredith Grey as she continues to live up to the reputation of her mother, Dr. Ellis Grey. She spends years in taking care of her mother who was struck with Alzheimer’s disease as she fails to have a stable relationship with any man. The story shows her struggle and hardships as well as the other members of the medical team (Thomas, 2008).
Grey’s Anatomy is a great story that captured the hearts of viewers, regardless of their racial and ethnic backgrounds. According to the Nielsen surveys, Grey’s Anatomy is the most watched television show nowadays. Grey’s Anatomy is the TV show after the Cosby Show that gathers audiences from different backgrounds (Banton, 2006). This is also one of the characteristics of Grey’s Anatomy which makes it a popular television show: the characters come from various cultural and racial backgrounds. Three of the casts represent the African-Americans or the blacks, while the character of Cristina Yang represents the Asian community.
The television show addresses the issue of diversity and carefully represents people from various cultural and racial backgrounds. The television reflects the real status of the members of the ethnic groups in the American society. It also does not mainly rely on stereotypical roles in assigning roles to the casts. In the television show, the blacks occupy the higher positions in the medical field. Dr. Richard Webber is the chief of the surgical team, while Dr. Burke is one of the resident surgeons aspiring to be the next chief after Webber’s retirement. Dr. Bailey is also one of the residents that are in-charge of the interns. This is true in the real life situations; the members of the ethnic groups are now occupying high-ranking positions and equality with the whites is achieved.
The television show wonderfully depicts the idea of multiculturalism and diversity, and their success is attributed to their head writer, Shonda Rhimes, who is a veteran in the screenwriting field and the creator of the widely-acclaimed drama series. She is also one of the executive producers of the TV series. She is also an African American, so it is not quite surprising how she tends to manipulate the mixture of race in her drama series. Diversity is the show’s creative axis and the vital point of the series since diversity is the weakness of the society and still one of the taboo issues today (Banton, 2006)
This is where other television shows fail—in forming an excellent cast from various ethnic backgrounds. Most of the shows like Friends and Sex and the City depict a cast of one colour and monocultural backgrounds. Producers do not want to take risk of devising a new cast for it may affect how the audience perceives the show (Banton, 2006). Eventually, it does. Grey’s Anatomy gives the public a new flavour on the drama series. The public is searching for a show that will address the concerns of the real life situations. Multiculturalism is one of the prominent ideas depicted in the TV series and the audience grew fond of the idea as well as the show. Also, one of the major failures of the TV shows is they reflect a setting of a work environment that is diverse and the media reflect only the social atmosphere to a certain extent (Banton, 2006).
People should express concerns on how the media depict the ethnicity of the society at large. We must also ensure that news is reported fair and balanced and does not lean toward of any race and color.
Banton, A. (2006, November 13). The anatomy of success is diversity: Racial diversity brings in green for Grey’s Anatomy. The Campus. Retrieved September 9, 2008 from http://media.www.ccnycampus.com/media/storage/paper832/news/2006/11/13/Entertainment/The-Anatomy.Of.Success.Is.Diversity-2437809-page2.shtml.
Diverse Strategies, Inc. (2008). Diversity in the media & entertainment industries. Ethnic Majority. Retrieved September 9, 2008 from http://www.ethnicmajority.com/media_home.htm.
Thomas, R. (2008). ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ review, synopsis and general information. About.com: TV Dramas. Retrieved September 9, 2008 from http://tvdramas.about.com/od/greysanatomy/p/greyanareview.htm.