November 28, 2018
A recent Pew Research Center report shows that among the newest generation of Americans reaching adulthood (defined as those born after 1996), a record-breaking 48% are non-white. Most of these non-white “post-Millennials” are Asian and Latinx. To illustrate the extent of the demographic trend toward ethnic and racial diversity, the report compared post-Millennials to previous generations: Millennials were only 39% non-white when polled in 2002, with Gen-Xers at 30%, and Baby Boomers at just 18%. The report also found that post-Millennials—currently ages six to 21—are more likely to pursue college degrees, and that there are fewer immigrants among the new generation, in part due to a post-recession immigration slow-down. The researchers point out that this report is merely a snapshot of 2018 and not necessarily a prediction of future trends, but as of right now, post-Millennials are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation yet, and on track to be the most highly educated.
Although people with autism are typically portrayed in the media as “stereotyped and conventional: heterosexual, cisgender and, more often than not, naïve,” new research indicates that they are actually more likely to identify as LGBTQ+ than people without autism. Pediatric neuropsychologist John Strang notes that since people with autism are often seen as lacking self-determination, those who are LGBTQ+ face certain challenges with self-advocacy; filling out forms; attending doctor’s appointments; feeling “unable to tell how others viewed their gender;” and having their understanding of gender diversity questioned, belittled, misunderstood, and dismissed. According to Strang, the intersection of being both LGBTQ+ and autistic can increase the risk of developing mental health issues and, in turn, heighten the need for support. He says that “social-skills programs for people on the spectrum should include information about LGBTQ+ communities to help young autistic people navigate their sexuality and gender,” and that “LGBTQ+ groups and communities should be more intentionally inclusive of neurodiverse people and promote autism awareness.”
This holiday season, the Hallmark Channel is making good on a promise made by William Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, back in 2017: “I feel like [diversity] is an industry-wide problem…but, at the same time…we have a great track record of doing the right thing and I think that you will see significant change over the years as we continue to evolve our content.” The recently released movie Christmas Everlasting premiered on Thanksgiving, featuring a largely Black cast and the romance-driven plot Hallmark viewers have come to love and expect. Both Netflix and Lifetime have followed in Hallmark’s footsteps by promoting holiday movies with diverse casts like Jingle Belle and The Holiday Calendar. This year, Hallmark also featured movies starring Alexa PenaVega, who is Latina, and Jerrika Hinton, who is African American—and has more projects featuring diverse actors and stories in the works. In a recent interview, Hallmark’s head of programming, Michelle Vicary, reiterated the company’s commitment: “[The lack of diversity] is something we have addressed, and we have a wonderful slate for this year and going forward. We’re already working on 2019.”