'Scandal' Creator Shonda Rhimes Explains Why She Hates the Word "Diversity"

"I make TV like the world looks."

At an annual dinner for the Human Rights Campaign, Shonda Rhimes was honored for helping depict LGBT issues on screen.

"She did it," said Scandal star Guillermo Diaz, who presented Rhimes with the Ally for Equality award. "Shonda took a chance and cast a gay latino from Washington Heights to portray this amazing character. She saw past all those things that people in this business usually see first."

But Rhimes isn't trying to showcase diversity—she's trying to normalize it. "I really hate the word 'diversity,'" she told the audience. "It is just something other. Something special, like it's rare. 'It's diversity!' As if there is something unusual about telling stories about women or people of color or LGBT characters on TV. I have a different word. I call it 'normalizing.' I make TV like the world looks."

"You should get to turn on your TV and see your tribe," continued Rhimes. "Your tribe can be any kind of person, anyone you identify with — anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth."

And this isn't the first time Rhimes has spoken out about the way society discusses and depicts people, particularly of different races or orientations. When a Twitter user commented that both of her shows—Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder—show too many gay scenes, Rhimes responded in big way.

"There are no GAY scenes," she wrote. "There are scenes with people in them."

All the applaud emojis for Rhimes. (And all the real applause for her, too.)

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Samantha Leal
Senior Editor

Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.