When the dramatic comedy returns for a fourth season next year, Veronica's mom (guest star Vanessa Bell Calloway) is a surrogate for the couple and pregnant with Kevin's baby. Hopefully, ' Shameless,' ' Scandal' and other shows, movies and books will open people's minds and encourage single Black women to expand their dating pools. But it's a start." Progress also was made when the movie version of "Parenthood" was adapted for TV.
In the original 1989 film, the mother of Larry Buckman's child was an absentee Black woman. Twenty years (ago), the story would've been ' I'm Black and he's White' every episode.
"It's shocking how recent that was," Thompson says of the case.
"In high schools and middle schools all over America, the race of the person you're dating isn't an issue.
"Mainstream broadcast networks are always wary that White audiences will think a show isn't for them if too many major characters are non-White," says Eric Deggans, the outgoing TV/media critic for the Tampa Bay Times and newly hired TV critic at NPR.
"Talk to producers on NBC's ' Homicide' or HBO's ' The Wire,' and you will hear them blame that dynamic for each show's low ratings, despite how beloved both were critically." Deggans, who also wrote the book "Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation" (Palgrave/Macmillan, .87), says Shonda Rhimes, the African-American woman, creator and executive producer behind "Scandal," knew it was hard enough convincing ABC to let a Black woman lead a show—something that hadn't happened since Diahann Carroll's "Julia" ended in 1971.
"But it really doesn't do us any service to feel like finally one of our women is taking one of their men.
Ultimately, it's still feeding into the perception that this Black woman has to wait for something she may never have." For the small minority of viewers who wonder what "Scandal" would've been like had Fitz been played by a Black actor, such a hypothetical scenario is just that.
"I've been wanting that type of dialogue on this show because that's real.In that regard, some consider Olivia Pope a modern-day Sally Hemings (President Thomas Jefferson's Black slave lover).Olivia's even remarked on the show that she is not.Rhimes presumably didn't want to doom the show with two Black leads or have a Black president serve as an unintentional proxy for President Barack Obama."Shonda Rhimes seems to have been very careful about how she has diversified her casts in the shows leading up to ' Scandal' – always featuring just enough diversity to make the casts interesting, breaking ground in subtle, less-threatening ways," Deggans says.