‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ and The Future of Diversity

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At first glance, Brooklyn Nine-Nine seems like a vehicle for a post-SNL Andy Sandberg. At first viewing, it looks like the funniest new sitcom of the season. Upon further inspection, it’s the best representation of minorities on television.

Not many shows on television have one Latino lead and Brooklyn Nine-Nine has two. Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero play Detective Rosa Diaz and Detective Amy Santiago, respectively. An added bonus…these Latin actors get to actually play Latin characters. Oftentimes, Latin actors are asked to play Caucasians, African-Americans, Europeans or their cultural identity is ignored altogether. It’s great to see that these beautiful women are not hyper-sexualized or lampooned with thick accents, like Sofia Vergara’s Gloria on Modern Family. It seems whenever a Latin woman is on television she needs to be wearing a short cocktail dress and running around in heels. These characters are police officers with unique and irreverent characters that just so happen to be Latino. 

All the characters have identities that come secondary to their race. Terry Crews and Andre Braugher play African-American men in positions of power. They are given personalities that never once have to pander to stereotypes. Crewes plays Sergeant Terry Jeffords, a once badass cop who is overly sensitive and easily scared ever since his twin daughters were born. Braugher plays stern Captain Ray Holt with an icy, robotic demeanor. Braugher also plays a gay man in autheority. His sexuality does not take priority in his character; he keeps his private life private and the show addresses the level of adversity he’s faced as an openly gay captain.

The highlight of the show is the great writing. Everyone is a complex character and the source of their jokes isn’t their race, gender or sexual orientation. Women are portrayed as equally good or bad at police work as men, and gay men and African Americans are in positions of power. Hopefully, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a sign of things to come in television casting.