Jenji Kohan was on Fresh Air today talking about how she is able to tell stories about black and Latina women on Orange Is the New Black because of Piper's whiteness:
You’re not going to go into a network and sell a show on really fascinating tales of black women, and Latina women, and old women and criminals. But if you take this white girl, this sort of fish out of water, and you follow her in, you can then expand your world and tell all of those other stories. But it’s a hard sell to just go in and try to sell those stories initially. The girl next door, the cool blonde, is a very easy access point, and it’s relatable for a lot of audiences and a lot of networks looking for a certain demographic. It’s useful.
Nice gaming the system for awesome results, but it sucks that's the narrative we're unrelentingly stuck with. Since it could be strongly argued we live in a culture that values the stories of white people most of all, it would be so damn refreshing/mind-expanding/enlightening/fun/interesting/important to enter into entertainment from different points of view much more routinely. We all have creative imagination, and it's time for some of us to exercise it.
Photo via Getty