You might think posting about social issues does nothing, but here’s proof on how outrage over racism on social media has led to big companies and platforms realizing their roles in being part of the problem that POC face as minorities in the US. It’s amazing to see the conversations running about White privilege, representation and inclusivity in media. We still have a long way to go, but here are some steps the entertainment industry has taken to realize their privilege and act accordingly.
The Simpsons will no longer have White actors voicing POC
The producers of The Simpsons have announced that Hank Azaria will no longer be voicing Apu, a South-Asian character on the show. The show has promised that going forth, POCs will represent themselves on the show.
The fact that so many people in the comments are somehow disappointed by Azaria’s commendable decision speaks volumes about the culture of insensitivity we witness today. In a world dominated by the Rich White Man™, one White man making space for those who need it more is necessary. POC need more and better representation in the media. We have a history of whitewashing POC roles, from Emma Stone playing a Pacific Islander in Aloha to the Blackfaces that might seem long behind us but really aren’t. POC get little representation in media as it is without White people bagging those roles too. Comedian Hari Kondabalu took the spotlight when he talked about how it felt to grow up with Apu as the only form of Indian representation on media. It’s not fair when even that representation is barely representation.
Family Guy takes a step towards inclusivity
Mike Henry, who had voiced the Black character Cleveland Brown on Family Guy, also announced that he would be stepping down from the role to make space for POC to voice themselves. POC roles in American media are rare, and every POC role that emerges is an chance for shows to be inclusive.
Big Mouth’s Missy to get a new voice actor
Jenny Slate, who voiced the biracial character Missy on Netflix’s Big Mouth, also stated that she would be stepping down from the role.
Kristen Bell steps down from voicing a biracial character as well
Kristen Bell voiced Molly Tillerman, a biracial character on Apple’s Central Park. She announced her withdrawal from the role and will be placed in a new role within the show, while Central Park searches for a biracial/Black actor to provide an authentic voice.
Of course, not everyone is going to rejoice over the fact that media is becoming more inclusive. Deanna Lorraine, a Republican commentator, had something to say about The Simpsons’ decision:
Guess we’ll just have to wait for Lorraine to come up with the singular glorious step that solves racism instead. In the meanwhile, we’ll all be doing our part to help bring down systemic racism, no matter how small.