So often in our public discourse the plight of the poor is subsumed within the needs of the middle class (i.e., “a rising tide lifts all boats”) or all together ignored. While this familiar narrative unfolded during Tavis Smiley’s America’s Next Chapter forum (I’ll return to this point later), it was refreshing to hear the conversation begin with a focus on America’s forgotten class.
The lack of diversity in the media has long been a source of frustration for media watchers. Turn on network or cable television and its clear that the value of racial, ethnic and gender diversity continues to be ignored by decision makers at mainstream television broadcast outlets. The result of the lack of inclusion of new and varied voices in the national media is a largely white, male, elitist perspective devoid of the richness and complexity of American experiences. “We live in the most multicultural, multiracial, and multiethnic America ever, but there is no appreciation for diversity in our conversations and in the media,” said PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley during our one-on-one telephone interview today.