Countless organizations are newly engaging with the question of how to have meaningful conversations about race. But for Cord Jefferson, a TV writer on HBO’s critically-acclaimed superhero series Watchmen, lengthy discussions about topics like police brutality and the history of Black Wall Street were all in a day’s work.
“We had a lot of third-rail issues like reparations, racial violence, sexual violence,” Jefferson says. “These are things people have strong opinions about, for good reason.”
In general, TV writers’ rooms are overwhelmingly white: As of 2017, two-thirds of shows had no Black writers at all, according to a report by the racial justice advocacy group Color of Change. But Jefferson says he’s been fortunate to work in several highly diverse writers’ rooms: at Watchmen, HBO’s Succession, NBC’s metaphysical sitcom The Good Place, and Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.