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ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK author Piper Kerman here. AMA.(r/IAmA)
I think inequality and white privilege are one of the big topics of the book. Racism is on stark display in the criminal justice system, whether you are talking about policing, prosecution, sentencing, or what happens to people during incarceration. Andrea James has written a book about her own experience in the same prison I was held in: www.amazon.com/Upper-Bunkies-Unite-Thoughts-Incarc…
I also think this is true in terms of how mass media functions in the U.S. Jenji Kohan has described the character of Piper Chapman as her “Trojan horse”, saying that she could not have successfully pitched a show about women of color, old women, poor women to any major media corporation. I’m not an expert on Hollywood, but that’s her POV
It’s my hope that the response to the show, and most especially to the range of characters, is evidence that there is a great deal of interest and appetite for much more diversity in media.