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Grading TV Diversity

Grading TV DiversityDespite advances, a Tufts expert says diversity in children's television still doesn't make the grade.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.02.01] A new television trend appears to have emerged in recent years: the newest children's programming looks more diverse than ever.

According to the Miami Herald, "This growing trend toward diversity has inspired optimism that, for all the negative influences television is accused of fostering among young viewers, children's programming may help produce a generation with fewer racial hang-ups."

While the Herald recognizes that children's television is considerably more diverse than its prime-time counterparts, the newspaper reports that a Tufts child development expert "isn't ready to give children's programming an A+ for diversity."

According to the newspaper, research by Tufts' Calvin Gidney finds that despite some advances, diversity in children's TV has a long way to go.

"The world of kid's TV is still overwhelmingly white. Our research shows that 70 to 80 percent of lead characters are either Anglo or Nordic," said Gidney, who is working on a new book with Tufts' Julia Dubrow called "Toon Talk: The Language of Children's Animated Television."

The problem, Gidney said in the Philadelphia Inquirer, is that older programming -- such as shows like the Flintstones -- continues to consume a lot of air time, especially on commercial networks.

"The newer shows are much more diverse and much more inclusive, but there needs to be more," he said.

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