This book fills a significant gap in the critical conversation on race in media by extending interrogations of racial colorblindness in American television to the industrial practices that shape what we see on screen. Specifically, it frames the practice of colorblind casting as a potent lens for examining the interdependence of 21st century post-racial politics and popular culture. Applying a ‘production as culture’ approach to a series of casting case studies from American primetime dramatic television, including ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and The CW’s The Vampire Diaries, Kristen Warner complicates our understanding of the cultural processes that inform casting and expounds the aesthetic and pragmatic industrial viewpoints that perpetuate limiting or downright exclusionary hiring norms. She also examines the material effects of actors of color who knowingly participate in this system and justify their limited roles as a consequence of employment, and finally speculates on what alternatives, if any, are available to correct these practices. Warner’s insights are a valuable addition to scholarship in media industry studies, critical race theory, ethnic studies, and audience reception, and will also appeal to those with a general interest in race in popular culture.
Introduction 1. Casting as Cultural Production 2. "I’m glad no one was hung up on the race thing": Grey’s Anatomy and the Innovation of Blindcasting in a Post-Racial Era 3. "It’s Tough Being Different": The Pitfalls of Colorblindness in The CW’s The Vampire Diaries 4. Is There Hope? Alternatives to Colorblind Casting Conclusion: Not Quite Catching Shadows
Today, media consumption, production and circulation are more globally connected at the interpersonal, organizational, and geopolitical level than ever before. Greater numbers of media forms exist, representing a notable diversity in form and function, use, and reception. Yesterday’s passive media consumers are increasingly more active media producers.
These transformations in media are significant, and become all the more provocative and important when recognizing that race is shaped in and through media. This series publishes scholarship at the cutting edge of race and media with an aim not only to reflect current research, but to reshape and define future research at their intersection. Books in the series work to develop a greater understanding of how the mediated experiences of racialized beings will continue to transform human experience and relations in every aspect of daily life.