The post-racial revolution should not be televised


Leave it to CNN to report on ideas that have been circulating in the blogosphere for years like it’s news, and to further treat those ideas with the kind of insipid, uncritical patina that suggests that the article is the end-result of maybe two hours — tops — of online reading. Leave it to CNN to give a complex and nuanced conversation a Monday morning rush job on an otherwise “slow” news day.

This morning, CNN published an article by John Blake, who normally writes for CNN’s Belief Blog; today Blake was writing about diversity in speculative fiction.

The basic premise of his op-ed? Televised speculative fiction is awesome right now because there are people of colour doing things next to White people.

If [Martin Luther] King clicked on TV today, he might shout that we’ve reached the Promised Land. A racial revolution is quietly taking place on the small screen, and zombies, witches and headless horsemen are leading the way. There’s been an explosion of multiracial casting on science-fiction, fantasy and horror shows, and the people powering this trend say it is here to stay.

Popular shows such as “The Walking Dead,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Arrow” are giving us a sneak preview of a post-racial America that can still seem far away, fans and creators say. The most eye-popping elements are not the special effects and supernatural creatures but the multiracial casts and the casual acceptance of racial differences. These shows routinely feature actors of color in nonstereotypical roles, and interracial relationships are the norm.

Yes, according to Blake, we have arrived at King’s Promised Land: we have built a post-racial world, and it has zombies in it.

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