The creator of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal" explores the ethos of immorality—and the insult she really hates
By Willa Paskin
How much pride do you take in the fact that your casts are much more racially diverse than most other shows?
I don’t take pride in it at all. I think it’s sad, and weird, and strange that it’s still a thing, nine years after we did “Grey’s,” that it’s still a thing. It’s creepy to me that it’s still an issue, that there aren’t enough people of color on television. Why is that still happening? It’s 2013. Somebody else needs to get their act together. And oh, by the way it works. Ratings-wise, it works. People like to see it. I don’t understand why people don’t understand that the world of TV should look like the world outside of TV. Like, why is there an assumption of whiteness on television? It’s very weird to me. I think there are some people who work really hard at it. I think J.J. Abrams really goes out of his way to try to make television look diverse. I think it’s happening. And I think that some people just assume whiteness, because that’s what they see. It’s weird.
Do you feel like that’s because it is mostly white guys making TV?
I don’t think it’s about that. I really don’t. J.J. Abrams is a white guy, he does it. Norman Lear, years and years and years and years ago, did it. I think it’s ridiculous, that the networks don’t demand it more. I think it’s crazy that the person who everybody asks this question of is me. Everyone always says to me, “Why aren’t there more people of color on television?” I’m like, “Why don’t you ask a bunch of people who aren’t putting people of color on television why there aren’t more people of color on television.”
So Hollywood's excuse that they care only about the bottom line is just that: an excuse. If you care about making a profit, tell more minority stories with minority actors. Thirty-six percent of the country is waiting for stories about them.
For more on the subject, see NBC Heritage Month Special and Revolution and TV Diversity.