Shonda Rhimes Really Hates the Word ‘Diversity': ‘I’m Normalizing TV’

The powerhouse behind hits “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Grey’s Anatomy” speaks out at Human Rights Campaign Gala

Shonda Rhimes — creator of hits “Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder” — said she has a problem with the word “diversity” in a speech she published on Monday.

“I really hate the word ‘diversity.’ It suggests something … other. As if it is something … special. Or rare. Diversity! As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV,” Rhimes wrote.

“I have a different word: normalizing. I’m normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks,” she wrote in the speech titled “You Are Not Alone” that she delivered to the Human Rights Campaign Gala on Saturday.

She continued in the speech:

I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50 percent of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL.

I am normalizing television.

You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. And your tribe can be any kind of person, any one you identify with, anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe, see your people, someone like you out there, existing. So that you know on your darkest day that when you run (metaphorically or physically run), there is somewhere, someone, to run to. Your tribe is waiting for you.

You are not alone.

The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them. And just as important, everyone should turn on the TV and see someone who doesn’t look like them and love like them. Because, perhaps then, they will learn from them.

Perhaps then, they will not isolate them.

Marginalize them.

Erase them.

Perhaps they will even come to recognize themselves in them.

Perhaps they will even learn to love them.

I think that when you turn on the television and you see love, from anyone, with anyone, to anyone  –real love  —  a service has been done for you. Your heart has somehow been expanded, your mind has somehow grown. Your soul has been opened a little more. You’ve experienced something.

The very idea that love exists, that it is possible, that one can have a “person” …

You are not alone.

Read the full text of her speech on Medium.com.

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