Biden
President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del. on Dec. 9, 2020 (Susan Walsh/AP/Shutterstock)

Biden Further Commits to Racial Equity; Television Drastically Lacking Female and Latinx Representation; and More

Biden further commits to racial equity in meeting with civil rights leaders.

In a nearly two-hour virtual meeting on Dec. 8 with seven civil rights leaders, President-elect Joe Biden furthered his commitment to prioritizing racial justice and assembling a diverse Cabinet that can tackle pressing equity issues, the Associated Press has reported.

In the meeting, which included Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of the National Action Network; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund; and National Urban League CEO Marc Morial along with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, who will join the Biden administration as a senior adviser, Biden discussed how his administration will work to address policing and criminal justice reform, the nation’s racial wealth gap, voting rights, COVID-19 vaccination efforts and the impact the virus has had on Black, Brown and low-income individuals, and more.

“He was very assertive in assuring us that he intends to address issues of racial equity,” Ifill said in an interview following the meeting. “He believes that we will be satisfied by his appointments in terms of racial diversity to the Cabinet, and he expressed his desire to have a robust partnership going forward.”

Morial appeared to be in agreement, telling reporters “You cannot move the needle when it comes to racial justice in this country unless you have people at the table at the highest levels who have had lived experiences … and there are Black people qualified for every single position in the government.” He added: “We saw today a passionate Joe Biden and a passionate Kamala Harris. We will judge this administration by the actions it takes and by its results.”

“I said to him he must not take lightly that he is succeeding the most racist, bigoted administration in memory,” Sharpton said. “It is not even just about going forward. We must repair this damage that has been done by this administration.”

Following the virtual session, Biden continued with his announcement of the most diverse and inclusive Cabinet in history, announcing his selection of retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin as the nation’s first Black defense secretary along with Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, as his housing and urban development secretary.

 

Television drastically lacking female and Latinx representation, new Nielsen study reports.

Even with the explosion of streaming television and seemingly more viewing options than one could ever hope to keep up with, it seems television companies are still having a serious problem maintaining diversity and representation within the programs they create. 

In fact, in a new review of the top 100 TV shows each in broadcast, cable and streaming (excluding sports, movies and animated shows), researchers at Nielsen (No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020), the company which also provides TV viewership ratings, found that women, Native Americans and Latinx people were highly underrepresented on most programs, especially in comparison to their relative representation within the general population. Among their findings:

  • Women make up 52% of the U.S. population, but only show up onscreen 37.9% of the time. 
  • Women over 50 years old constitute 20% of the population but only get 8% of screen time. (In comparison, men over age 50 are 17% of the population and get 14% of screen time, a much closer representation to real life.) 
  • Latinx and Hispanics were among the least represented groups, totaling just 5.5% of screen time despite being 18.8% of the population.

In one positive development, however, Black men and women were slightly overrepresented, earning 18.1% of screen time in the programs Nielsen tracked. Currently, Blacks comprise 14% of the population.

Not surprisingly, white characters on the shows we watch still earn an overwhelming 81.2% of screen time, despite comprising 60% of the population.

Nielsen didn’t name specific shows or media platforms that were best or worst performers but did note that their study does indicate areas where future inclusion and diversity efforts can be focused, further helping to make media depictions more representative of the world we actually live in.

“The content we consume should reflect the growing diversity of our country, and we know that diverse audiences look for diverse content,” wrote David Kenney, Nielsen CEO and Chief Diversity Officer, in the introduction to the study. “As our nation’s demographic becomes more diverse, the call for more authentic content, reflecting real people and real life, is louder than ever.”

To complete their research, Nielsen used a metric called “share of screen” which is the percentage of time members of specific groups appear on the screen as recurring cast members. This number can help measure how often TV viewers actually see these types of people in the programs they view.

 

D.I. Fast Facts

853,000 

Number of jobless claims filed in the U.S. last week, as reported by the Labor Department. The figure is far higher than the 730,000 claims experts had estimated. Claims for the previous week came in at 716,000.
CNBC

 

20,000

Number of downloads conservative-friendly social media site Parler is currently averaging. In mid-November, following the election and Biden being named President-elect, downloads for the site topped 340,000. Another sign the site’s faddish, explosive growth may be over: Daily active user numbers for the site are also falling, from a peak of about 2.9 million in late November to the current 2.3 million.
CNN Business

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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