When people think of the entertainment industry, they only think of the creative outputs and not the business inputs that make any industry tick.
Yes, television is an outlet were representation should be fair, real, and balanced. And in an ideal world all these things should be true. However, we must not forget that television is a business, and the code of business is dollars and cents. Creating great content is only as relevant as viewership statistics, TRPs/GRPs (ratings points), and the amount of advertising dollars a program can rake in during its time slot and day-part.
So when we ask questions like "why weren't there any black Friends on Friends?" or question the "blackness" of 'black*ish', know that all of it is just a game and every decision made is done to satisfy the P&L (profit and loss statement) statement of a network. Networks care about numbers. Communities care about imagery. For networks, the internet has been the most humbling experience. Still struggling to crack the code and find ways to attract audiences cross platforms, networks are beginning to see value in diverse imagery on the small screen; all thanks to the power of the digital screen. But by value, we still mean 'that good green' (i.e. dollars and cents).
I hope one day, we can have a conversation about how TV truly became reflective of all the faces, perspectives, and backgrounds that truly make and made America great.
Until then, enjoy this history lesson courtesy of AJ+.