As a class we discovered a new problem in America. Some minorities are being hired not on their merit, but their race. In some cases the only reason minorities achieve job positions is to be tokens. Organizations pushing for the advancement of minorities create forced diversity.
This week in my American Studies class we have been discovering the wonders of TV tokenism. TV tokenism is the strategy to keep organizations like the NAACP of the backs of television networks, by placing token minorities in their programming. After learning about this phenomenon, it opened my eyes. While browsing Netflix I found that almost every show I saw fell into the exact characteristics of the token shows we expounded upon in class. "Arrow", a superhero drama and my recent Netflix obsession, was exposed to me in a new dark light. I noticed Green arrows sidekick is a token minority. The side kick is a well-dressed black men who is constantly reeling in the white main character. The sidekick, Diggle, has a prestigious army background, but we don’t learn much about anything else in life.
This is an example of a Token character, a two dimensional minority who is shown in a positive light. "Arrow" whose main characters are based on a white family, does not have much diversity besides the sidekick. The network executives place tokens in the show as “main characters”, but in reality they receive significantly less screen time. Forced diversity in America is being executed incorrectly.