'Scandal' creator Shonda Rhimes hates the word 'diversity': 'I make TV look like the world looks'

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Three months after her powerful speech about what it feels like to run into the glass ceiling, Shonda Rhimes gave another illuminating, earnest speech about her process this weekend at the Human Rights Campaign gala in Los Angeles. Variety reports that while accepting the Ally for Equality award, Rhimes talked about what it's like to write about loneliness, and how she prefers the term normalizing to diversity.

“I really hate the word ‘diversity,'” she told the crowd. “It is just something other. Something special, like it’s rare. ‘It’s diversity!’ As if there is something unusual about telling stories about women or people of color or LGBT characters on TV. I have a different word. I call it ‘normalizing.’ I make TV look like the world looks.”

Rhimes has also famously defended her inclusion of gay sex in her shows. When a Twitter commenter said they found the gay scenes in Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder to be too much, Rhimes wrote back "There are no GAY scenes. There are scenes with people in them."

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It seems like more networks are finally following Rhimes' lead; Indiewire reports that 73 new TV pilots and series will have black actors in starring or supporting roles. Instead of treating racial inclusion as a very special episode, more networks look to be moving into the normalizing realm.

Danielle Henderson is a lapsed academic, heavy metal karaoke machine, and culture editor at Fusion. She enjoys thinking about how race, gender, and sexuality shape our cultural narratives, but not in a boring way.

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