The Oscars and Racial Diversity

It’s Oscars season–time for all of the components of last year’s movies to be judged. One issue in Hollywood is the lack of racial diversity regarding film, including actor and actress, nominations. A Black actor/actress has not been nominated for an Academy Award since 2014. Yes, it makes me frustrated that a person of African descent has not been nominated in two years. Yet, I am more angry that overall there is a minimal amount of racial diversity in the nominations in general. The main issue is the way in which people and the media are using the term “racial diversity.” It is common for people to believe that racial diversity just includes Black people, but it essentially involves every race. This is an issue of racial equality for all, not just Blacks. The fact that an award ceremony with such status is not aiming towards recognizing various actors and actresses from different races is disheartening. I think the Academy is aware that there are people from diverse races that have high-quality acting skills, but it seems that they can’t support these actors on their most important night.

I think the lack of films including Black actors and actresses is being emphasized since there were various Black films, such as “Creed,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Chi-Raq,” and “Beasts of No Nation,” that seem Oscar-worthy that aren’t being considered in the running. Another reason that people are concentrating on the lack of racial diversity for Black people is because Black actors, such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, are broadcasting their outrage regarding this issue. According to Chicago Tribune, Pinkett Smith plans not to attend the Oscars. This alone shows how angry Pinkett Smith feels about the lack of racial diversity since this event is a big deal for the film industry. Also, The Daily Wire notes that Pinkett Smith and Lee would like to boycott the Oscars. Lee and Pinkett Smith’s rage goes deeper than the Oscars not having racial diversity; it also pinpoints how society as a whole lacks the ability to effectively recognize and encourage racial diversity. Moreover, Lee and Pinkett Smith are making a stand to encourage Blacks to fight for their equality in every situation and industry. The act of boycotting the Oscars provides an example for Blacks regarding shifting racial diversity initiatives in America.

Racial diversity in general needs improvement in Hollywood. There is great talent in Hollywood from diverse races, but these actors and actresses aren’t being starred in the top-grossing films. Then, when a person of a minority race is featured in a film it’s a problem. For example, John Boyega is a Black actor who plays a key role in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” yet his race caused debate on social media, not focusing on the fact that a Black male starred in a popular and beloved film. As individuals we all must understand why racial diversity is important. If one is ignorant about a cause, they have no need or desire to implement change. One needs to decide what he or she can do to help foster change regarding this issue. As a society, America can make more room for minorities in high-power communities and positions. Also, our country needs to become educated about various racial groups in order to see the value of racial diversity. Once we can learn about another culture and appreciate their differences we will be able to know why racial diversity is essential. It starts with the individual and then branches out to society. Therefore, ponder the complexity of racial diversity, educate yourself, and commit to making a change.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, The Daily Wire

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