Diversity on Real Housewives of D.C.

I lived in the DC Metro area from 1995 – 2008. I went to the University of Maryland for 4 years (yes, the 4-year plan), and then stayed for an additional nine years. I’m originally from Richmond, VA, so living in the DC Metro area was definitely big city living to me. I’d take the Metro in, buy knockoff bags from the street vendors to a backdrop of go-go music. Even though “big city living” wore on me, there are three things that I absolutely LOVE about DC: access to public transportation, the propensity for people to speak their minds publicly, and cultural diversity of the city. While most cities follow a census checklist: black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American. But in DC, you better get it right: Jamaican, Ethiopian, Brazilian, Guatemalan, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and so on.

So I was a little surprised at the homogeneity of the Real Housewives of D.C. One African American and one Londoner don’t begin to touch on the diversity within and around the city. South of DC in Northern Virginia is the wealthiest area of Virginia. North of DC in Prince George’s County reside some of the wealthiest African-Americans in the country. 16.2 per cent of Carderock-Mazza Woods in Potomac, Maryland (one of THE richest neighborhoods in the area) are Asian. In addition to wealthy politicians and international diplomats, DC his home to NFL players, NBA players, and NHL players. I’m positive that they could have found a more diverse group women to represent our nation’s capital. I’m sure Bravo could have found an Indian (from India), a Brazilian, a Caucasian American, a African American, and a Russian housewife. At least one of which is in a committed relationship with another housewife.

That didn’t prevent me from watching the episode, because really, lack of diversity on TV ain’t nothing new. And I’m glad I kept an open mind, because the first episode seemed to address the issue of diversity in the city amongst these rich white women. Stacie points out from the top that DC is chocolate city, Lynda dates a big black guy who I would guess from his name is first or second generation African. There are various side characters, like Lynda’s stylist friend Paul that makes you realize that DC is a diverse town. There are copious references to Obama, implying that post racial bullshit society that I keep hearing about.

Then there were the awkward moments of conversation: first Mary and her speech on the integration of salons, and then the Cat’s feelings on Tyra and George Bush. Aside: I don’t care for Tyra either, and I respect her right to have an opinion on George Bush. I mean, I have mine too…Although her statements weren’t racist, they were portrayed to be “racially charged”. Is this an attempt to stir up controversy, or am I to believe that race relations are so awkward that they couldn’t find a representative mix for the cast?

So I’m curious as to how this will play out because although the casting was a wack move, no one is ignoring the cultural diversity of the city. The premiere didn’t have me breathless, but I will watch so I can look out for my friends and old haunts.

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~ by 2muchtv on August 6, 2010.

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