While looking at the list Emmy nominees the number people nominated of a different race or ethnic background are incredibly slim. There is a slim margin of actors who play LGBTQ characters, or have a disability, but this is one place where old white men and women do well.
Looking at this years breakdown of nominees in the major categories there are only three who actors who would be considered non-white, and they are all nominated in the supporting categories. They are:
Sofia Vergara-nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in Comedy Series (the actress was born in Colombia)
Archie Panjabi nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category (she was born in England and is Indian)
Andre Braugher nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category (African American)
There are also only four actors who play LGBTQ (two of which are on the same show, and two who are heterosexual in real life, and three of which are male)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson-Modern Family, nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in Comedy Series (gay male in real life-gay male on the show)
Eric Stonestreet-Modern Family, nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in Comedy Series (straight male in real life-gay male on the show)
Chris Colfer-Glee, nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in Comedy Series (gay male in real life-gay male on the show)
Archie Panjabi nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series category (straight female in real life-has never been defined but appears to be bi-sexual)
Ironically CBS the network often cited by GLAAD as the least diverse for LGBT characters, and often cited as one of the least diverse networks has a character that has multiple identities that are not portrayed regularly in television. Modern Family appears to be one of the best shows that both highlights diversity and is quality programming.
Two things spring to my mind: Television today lacks diversity in general, and why does television do such a poor job of consistently highlighting different communities. People will state that reality television is the place that helps make up for this, but that is a scary thought. Reality television displays the worst characteristics in different groups and people in general.
There are shows out there with incredibly diverse casts like Grey's Anatomy which provide a window into so many different worlds I applaud Grey's and always have thought they always explored multicultural topics in their show with their main cast and the patients they bring into Seattle Grace. Grey's Anatomy's executive producer is Shondra Rhimes and happens to be a black female. Does her identity shape the fact that she includes a wider variety of different stories?
Rimes stated in an interview with New York Times that when she "wrote the pilot, she didn't specify the characters' ethnicities, so her casting process was wide open: Mr. Washington, who once played a gay Republican in Spike Lee's "Get on the Bus," was nearly cast in the role played by Patrick Dempsey, who is white; his Dr. Burke was to be played by a white actor who was forced to drop out at the last moment. Ms. Rhimes imagined "The Nazi" as a "tiny, adorable blond person with lots of ringlets," until Chandra Wilson walked through the door ("I thought it was endearing," Ms. Wilson said of her part. "Endearing as the word 'Nazi' can be."). And even though some network executives assumed Ms. Oh's hypercompetitive character would be white, Ms. Rhimes did not - in the pilot's script she wasn't even given a last name - so all it took was one "fabulous" audition from the "Sideways" star to christen the character Cristina Yang."
Using color blind casting is more and more common today, and this is great because it allows for more opportunities to cast a diverse array of actors, but this can also be incredibly problematic. Where are the shows that focus on the issues? Grey's using this colorblind casting has made set a trend of using generic characterization without getting into the issues and provides television shows with an easy out. At one point in time shows talked about things and issues were present. I want more shows to talk about the issues. I realize television is meant to be an escape but shows can make an impact, and bring about relevant cultural issues as well. I hope that television gets bolder, and the Emmys begin to recognize a wider variety of individuals for their hard work.