The Diversity Of Foundation

The delightful lack of white people in Apple's TV show

More women than have appeared in 99% of SciFi. In one shot

My wife is reading Foundation by Isaac Asimov. She's gotten 100 pages in without meeting a woman. Asimov was a notorious ass-grabber who said "You get slapped a lot, but you get laid a lot too." Apple has obviously fundamentally rewritten this story with data and shit. And the obvious data is that their customers are global, so the cast looks like the world. This isn't charity. This is capitalism. You gotta give the people what they want, and the people want to see themselves.

So most of the cast is colored and/or female (as the world is). The white leads are literally clones or ghosts. The whole thing is about the fall of some distant Empire, but it's also about the fall of whiteness right now.

When I grew up (in Ohio) I never saw someone like me on television. The first time I saw a desi face was Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. Apu (on The Simpsons) was just a white man in cartoon-face.

This is of course was because I was in Ohio. Back home in Sri Lanka I would have seen people like me, or the huge amount of films coming from India. And those local film industries are still kicking and, indeed, producing a lot of content for the new networks.

What's interesting about this moment is that we're both keeping our media and taking theirs. Global civilization is becoming globalized. It's recreation in lieu of reparations.

This casting shift is not out of the wokeness of anyone's heart—though people mocking and shaming these fuckers does help. Especially with the new networks, it's also just economics. Colored people are the global majority and we buy streaming subscriptions We don't want to watch white people cosplaying as us or fucking saving us in sepia filter all the time. It's boring. We want TV that looks more like we.

Color Grading

If you look at a map o    f melanin, most people look like Terrorist #4 in most American films. But now that film production is global, corporate, and data-driven, us terrorists are taking control of the plane!

World Population Map, 2003. Norman B. Leventhal Map Center

I'm sure there's a map like this on the wall, telling Apple and Netflix the ratios they need to hit. Especially since the new networks are subscription and not ad driven, they just want to sign warm bodies up. And so you get the diversity of Foundation.

Precluding a last genocidal push by white people (quite possible) the world will rapidly revert to the mean. As for most of civilization, most of civilization will be Asian:

2,000 Years Of Economic History In One Chart

If you want to go further back, all global culture was African of course.

Inset from Global Population World Map from the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Collection

The Color Of Money

This change came slowly and then all at once. I still remember when such diversity was unusual. Sense8 (by the Wachowski sisters) was the first big production that literally went global. The cast was Indian, Korean, Kenyan, Mexican, German, and American, and they shot all over the world. It was unique and revolutionary at the time, but now diversity is de rigeur.

It makes sense that Netflix did it first because they're the data geeks. The obvious data is that men are less than 50% of the world and white men less than 10%. There simply isn't that much audience for more stories about white men. Or even white women. A global network has to be global.

Hence it's not that the company is not woke, they're just not asleep. They'll still make hate crimes like Emily In Paris, but on the aggregate they'll follow the money, and the money follows the map. It's not wokeness but the daydreams of corporations, and they only dream of money. The yelling of people trying to cancel them certainly helps, but at the end of the day money talks. That's why Foundation is much more diverse than the 1950s novels or even turn of the century TV. Such is the foundation of TV's newfound diversity.

Further Reading: I Am Not Your Minority