Lena Dunham, creator of the celebrated HBO series “Girls,” addressed critics of her show’s all white cast today by stating that she has no personal relationships with any black people, and thus cannot possibly create a character that is anything but white.
Although her show takes place in New York City, arguably the most ethnically diverse place on Earth, the world of “Girls” revolves around four white women. The only people of color who appear on screen are homeless, taxi drivers, and/or drug dealers. Despite the controversy, Dunham has never seriously addressed the lack of diversity in her show in previous interviews. In fact, the NPR interview conducted today marks the first time she has talked about the issue without openly laughing at the question before saying “whatever.”
“Writers are supposed to write what they know,” Dunham told a reporter. “I don’t know any black people, so how do I write about them? I’m not sure how they think. I’m not sure what they feel. I’m not even sure they exist. Is there any conclusive evidence that people can really be black? I don’t see color, so I honestly don’t know.”
Many members of the black community who enjoy the antics of the “Girls” girls are displeased that the creator of the show not only included no non-white cast members, but consistently resorted to tired stereotypes when the characters are forced to interact with people of color.
“The show is hilarious. Don’t get me wrong,” said avid fan and black woman Keisha Jones. “But the only black person I’ve ever seen on screen during “Girls” was a crack-addicted stripper who was giving birth on a basketball court as the girls were walking to Starbucks. It was a little much.”
Those who know Dunham confirm that she is, in actuality, completely surrounded by nothing but white people at all times and becomes visibly distressed whenever a minority is present. According to those in her inner circle, the exclusion isn’t racism at this point, but an active effort to stay immersed in the all-white reality of “Girls” so she can continue to develop her characters accurately.
“She wants to preserve her integrity as a writer,” says close friend Diane Sherman. “She can’t start hanging out with coloreds now. It would ruin her vision. She needs inspiration for quality television. With every black or brown person Lena includes, the show takes a step away from being a fresh take on young adulthood and a step towards ‘Meet the Browns’ and nobody wants that to happen.”
“I don’t really understand the controversy,” said Dunham. “It’s ‘Girls,’ not ‘Homegirls.’ Even though all the characters are white women from wealthy backgrounds living in New York, this represents the typical girl experience as far as I can tell. The show’s accessible to everyone that matters.”
At the conclusion of the interview, after more pressing and a brief explanation of what a black person looks like, Dunham stated that these issues will be “addressed” in the next season of “Girls,” giving fans of all colors something to look forward to.
“You know, maybe I could think of a black character or a handicapped character or something. I did ask a black guy if I could borrow his pencil once in college. Well, I thought about it, but then I got too scared.”