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Emmys 2013: A Mostly Monochrome Show

Jennifer Joh |
September 23, 2013 | 6:09 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

A Kerry Washington win would've been an historic Emmys event. (Photo via enchanteur.co/Tumblr)
A Kerry Washington win would've been an historic Emmys event. (Photo via enchanteur.co/Tumblr)
Whites dominated this year's Emmys red carpet. Many stars opted for the lightest of hues for their gowns, though the women who worked with color definitely had the most memorable gowns of the night. 

SEE ALSO: Emmys 2013: Best Dressed Of The Red Carpet

That being said, whites also dominated the awards show later that night. All winners, excluding one, who took home Emmys were white. "White" is an unfair generalization, and though it's highly unlikely that this was intentional, it says much about the white-dominated world of awards shows. 

Michael Douglas, Emily Burstyn, James Cromwell, Stephen Colbert, Derek Hough, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Anna Gunn, Laura Linney, Jim Parsons, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, and Merritt Wever were the actors who took home Emmys. Clearly, talent isn't the only trend noticeable in this roundup. 

SEE ALSO: Emmys 2013: Biggest Winners Of The Night

Maybe audiences were too focused on the several surprises that occurred that night, including "Nurse Jackie's" Merritt Wever taking home the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy as opposed to "Modern Family's" Julie Bowen. Or were people too shocked by "The Newsroom's" Jeff Daniels's win to notice that not a single person of color took home an Emmy that night? 

Bobby Cannavale is the only exception to this phenomenon, since he's a combination of Italian and Cuban. But that's as ethnic as it got that night. On the other hand, Kerry Washington would have been the first African-American actress to win in the category of Lead Actress in a Drama for "Scandal." If she'd won. 

SEE ALSO: Emmys 2013: Bobby Cannavale Wins Outstanding Supporting Actor In Drama Series

This isn't to say that Claire Danes didn't deserve her Emmy--because she's certainly an excellent actress. The reactions on Twitter were almost ridiculous when Danes beat out Washington, concluding that racism was to blame. Some tweets went as far to say that the Emmys "is the biggest whitewashed production ever." Comment feeds went from anger over Washington's loss to the inefficiency of "white-dominated" politics. 

Kerry Washington was up against some amazing actresses. But why is it that our country's most beloved and highly-anticipated awards shows can't seem to be as progressive as the rest of society? While the rest of the world is moving forward, it seems television is lagging behind.

And while general success in the entertainment industry today is no longer a question of race or gender, racial stereotypes are still prevalent in television. There's hardly any room for character development in the hilarious African-American roommate, or the uncommonly intelligent Asian coworker, or the die-hard, tough-as-iron Latino cop. The same goes for any other race that unfortunately sees itself in the same roles. 

Leading roles can make or break a television show; in film, there's much more flexibility for the supporting actors to redeem a subpar plot. So despite their race or gender, many leading actors and actresses earned and deserved their wins. The Emmys may not be explicitly discriminating, but the results of voters reflect what can be made better in everyday television. 

Reach Staff Reporter Jennifer Joh here. Follow her on Twitter here.



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