October 30, 2007

Native roles decreased in 2006

Newest Casting Data Shows Highest Ethnic Minority Representation on RecordFollowing a fifteen year trend, non-Caucasian performers made incremental gains over the past two years, although mostly represented in supporting roles, according to the latest casting data collected and analyzed by Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 2005 and 2006. Casting data for women and senior performers has remained relatively unchanged.

“With the public continuing to demand full inclusion in film and television programming, we are proud to be a leading voice in the industry,” SAG President Alan Rosenberg said. “While we are also pleased to announce the largest percentage share for ethnic minorities to date, we cannot be content with the current levels of representation in each category, as they do not reflect the current demographics of our country. We will continue to insist on greater access to employment opportunities and accurate depictions of the American Scene.”

Native American Indian roles fell from 0.4 percent of total roles in 2005 to 0.2 percent of total roles in 2006. The non-episodic television category saw a net decrease of 69 roles over 2005. Excluding this category, the total number of roles for Native American Indians actually increased from 76 to 89. American Indian performers continue to be the least represented ethnic group with less than one percent share of all roles.
Comments:  The rise in the number of roles in "other categories" is probably due mainly to Apocalypto. Expect a big drop in the "other categories" category in next year's report.

Indianz.com helpfully provided a link to the actual report. Let's look at the data:

Total roles in 2005:    43,992
Native roles in 2005:         176 (0.4%)

Total roles in 2006:    48,542
Native roles in 2006:          97 (0.2%)

I'm not sure if these numbers are accurate. I may call SAG myself and see if I can get the raw data. But they suggest a problem with American Indians in Film and Television's annual report.

AIFTV limited itself to prime-time shows on major networks, I guess, and came up with zero Native roles. This report is more comprehensive, and there are clearly more than zero Native roles overall. Reporting the prime-time, major-network number as if it's the only number that counts is misleading at best.

No comments: