I made this photo set to showcase the young black actors who do not get as much love and fanaticism as their white counterparts but in making it, it became strikingly apparent to me how the CW minimizes the involvement of young black actors in their story telling. For example, there is no 18-30 female age group representation of black actresses on Arrow or Supergirl. A fact which I became aware of shortly after starting these shows.
As a young black woman, it bothers me that not only that is the case but also that the black men on the CW’s four main superhero shows live in a very white world. What’s more, I believe that that’s done on purpose. It’s rarely shown that the young black male character pursues a black woman as his love interest. James Olsen and Jefferson Jackson being prime examples of that. I negate to mention Wally West with the former two because we’ve only seen him pursue one love interest during the course of the show. The same comparison can be made for the young black women as well. All of Iris’s and Amaya’s love interests are white. Conversely, only one white main character in all of the four shows have actively pursued and stayed with a black love interest—for which the female POC actress receives so much hate from the fandom.
Within all of that lies the issue of colorism. When it comes to casting black actors the casting directors fail to explore the full hues of black skin tones. And because of that fact black representation and acceptability, especially with women, is normalized as biracial. Any skin tone darker than that is viewed as abnormal or undesired.
All this to say, I appreciate the discussions of blackness and black involvement in storytelling, but we have not come even close to representing real diversity. This is not just a CW issue, although I am using them as an example because their programs are geared toward a young audience, it’s a global issue. We as consumers can demand, via social media, op-ed pieces, disposable income expenditure, viewership, etc., that we are represented wholly and truthfully.
Please note that I am speaking as an individual black woman. I choose not to speak on the subject matters concerning ALL POC representation, nor do I choose to speak for ALL black women.