Emmy 2016 Awards: The Most Diverse Emmys Ever. Finally. – The Daily Beast

Noteworthy contrast with the Oscars, reflecting the range of TV programming:
Sunday’s Emmys were a celebration of diversity, an indictment of sexism, a championing of LGBT acceptance—and a plea for all these things to stop being Hollywood news.
“The only thing we value more than diversity is congratulating ourselves on how much we value diversity.” And so Jimmy Kimmel opened the Emmy Awards, offering a tongue-in-cheek critique on how self-congratulatory the television industry has become for its well-timed rewarding of a diverse slate of performers and creators.

Airing a little more than half a year after the Oscars, which famously embarrassed Hollywood while exposing our culture’s institutionalized racial biases, failed to nominate a single actor of color for the second year in a row, the Emmy Awards arrived Sunday night with a record number of diverse nominees.

Eighteen of the nominees for acting awards this year were people of color, and for the first time in the show’s 68-year history, performers of color were nominated in every leading acting category.

“The Emmys are so diverse this year, the Oscars are now telling people we are one of their closest friends,” Kimmel continued to joke, taking the piss out of the otherwise very serious conversation that’s lit up the zeitgeist over the deplorable state of diversity in media over the last few years.

Whatever the word you prefer—diversity, normalization (Shonda’s favorite), inclusivity (Ava DuVernay’s preference), or representation (my pick)—the fact that we’re even at a stage where a white guy in a suit is poking fun at the debate insinuates how important the discussion is.

Should we be past the point where we chart progress in awards milestones? That is, the firsts, the records, the groundbreaking achievements? Yes. But in acknowledging them and celebrating them, hopefuly we make room for progress. And Sunday night at the Emmys? Progress was made.

Sure, it was funny when Kimmel, during his opening monologue, had nominees of color reach out to a white nominee to thank them for their bravery. (It’s hard to nail this tone of joke, and we must give Kimmel credit for getting it right on the head.)

But it was funny and important when Alan Yang, from Tawainese parents, alongside Aziz Ansari, whose parents are from India, accepted their award for Best Writing in a Comedy Series.

“There’s 17 million Asian Americans in this country and there’s 17 million Italian Americans. They have The GodfatherGoodfellas, RockyThe Sopranos. We got Long Duck Dong,” Yang said, shaming all of our opportunity blindspots and institutionalized cultural (even if unintended) reductivism and, yes, racism in only five seconds.

 “We’ve got a long way to go,” Yang said, with one final plea: “Asian parents out there, do me a favor, just a couple of you. Give your kids cameras instead of violins.”

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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