For the majority of Americans, racial diversity on TV is not important

August 07, 2017, 5:00 PM GMT+0

And 31% of US adults would not watch a television program with a transgender lead

The Bachelorette cast its first black lead this season, a decision which, even with the finale only a few hours away, remains extremely contentious. Judging by new data from YouGov, online debates surrounding the show may be partially fueled by mixed feelings about racial diversity on television—the majority of Americans, 58%, say that a racially diverse cast is not important to them. Similarly, 1 in 10 US adults think that there are too many actors/actresses of racial minorities playing lead roles on TV shows.

Breaking the numbers down by race shows that white Americans are significantly less likely than black Americans to feel that minority actors and actresses are underrepresented on television: 22% to 49%.

Though more than half of US adults claim ambivalence towards diversity on the small screen, 22% are more likely to watch a program where the lead cast is of the same race as them. Black Americans are noticeably more likely to be interested in this type of programming (36%).

Despite differing views and preferences regarding television casting, Americans are largely in agreement that, compared to five years ago, TV shows are more racially diverse (64%).

This season of The Bachelorette didn’t just spark controversy surrounding race. Before the season even aired, heated debates arose surrounding an arguably transphobic comment made by one of the suitors on his official online bio. Since having a black lead on the show was itself so drama-inducing, YouGov wondered how casting a trans individual would fair. Nearly a third of US adults, 31%, would not watch a television show with a transgender lead.

Full survey results available here

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