Guest Author - Gina Vetrone Wilson
There is no denying that all soaps today are lacking in racial diversity. I have to wonder if there is a prerequisite to being a Soap star; you have to be beautiful and you almost always have to be Caucasian. That may sound harsh, but I think the lack of ethnic diversity amongst core families on our favorite soaps is one of the reasons the ratings are down. I have heard these words from other soap fans as well. With Jesse, Angie, Brot, Randi, and Frankie front and center weekly, All My Children can be omitted from this charge.
One Life to Live once featured the Vegas prominently; but now we only have Christian. Unfortunately, the character has become questionable in recent years so I am not sure that his ethnicity really matters at this point. OLTL will always have Dorian, who is of Latin descent along with her “god daughter” Langston, who obviously is as well. We cannot forget about Marrko! We were treated to a short visit by Latin soap veteran A. Martinez who brought along his homicidal daughter, Lola, for the ride. After Lola pulled some unforgivable stunts, Ray had to leave Llanview and chances are highly unlikely that he will ever return.
OLTL is showing signs of improvement in the diversity department with the return of Rachel Gannon and the addition of Destiny and her handsome brothers. General Hospital could take some hints from both of its sister shows! Maurice Bernard (Sonny) is of Salvadoran descent; then we have Epiphany and Toussaint. After that? Nothing. I am not saying that GH is any worse for wear without a more diverse cast, just that GH could be so much better if the cast included actors and actresses of other ethnicities.
Most likely there are various reasons that soaps like General Hospital are lacking in cultural diversity. I cannot say what they are. I can say that when a woman sits down to watch her soaps, she wants to connect with the characters. This can be said for women of all races and ethnicities. An African American woman wants to connect with an African American family and a Latina woman wants to connect with a Latin family.
Having a more diverse cast will ensure a wider, more diverse audience as well as higher ratings. With the economy in crisis and soaps on the daytime chopping block, it would not hurt for General Hospital to add a few actors with different ethnic backgrounds. Who knows? The Powers That Be might even get better storylines besides another overdone long-lost twin story. I want to believe that it would be worth a try.