OPINION: A black and white Hollywood

Arnav Damodhar | Staff Writer


It’s 2016 and Hollywood is still black and white.

The Oscar Awards ceremony was on Sunday, February 28. Out of the 20 actors and actresses nominated, not a single one was African-American.

Even at the 88th Academy Awards, racism is still prevalent. But this type of racism is different. It’s not the shooting of a black man by a police officer. It’s not abridging the rights of a black man from voting. It’s not the customary white facilities one side and black facilities on the other. It’s not even the racial remarks.

But as Chris Rock put it in his monologue, “Hollywood is sorority racist.”

From the white-dominated Oscar nomination committee, all of the nominees were exactly that. White. Only 44 blacks have ever been nominated for an Oscar, and a mere 12 have won. The first one being Hattie McDaniel in 1939 for her role in “Gone with the Wind” – a huge stride in this time period.  But this year, Hollywood has declined.  Hollywood isn’t racist in the sense that it doesn’t employ black actors. Of course it does. Movies like “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” made over $100 million at the box office. Hollywood is racist in the sense that it doesn’t see blacks as equal to whites.

In this era, we shouldn’t strive so hard to be racially inclusive that it becomes unnatural. The year is 2016, not 1970. Creating categories like best black lead actor and best black female actress just to ensure that blacks get nominated, as Rock mentioned, is not progressive; it’s rather counterintuitive.

It’s pitiful that racial minorities are still fighting to be seen as equal to their white counterparts. Though we might have a black President, this nation still has a long way to go not in the way it treats but in the way it views racial minorities, more specifically the way it views African-Americans.

If an outsider were to look upon America, he would see that the country blends blacks into society because of our black President or our revered black actors. But in reality, the Academy is a modern day, male-dominated white club. You don’t apply to be an executive in the Academy: you get sponsored by existing members and are voted in. The members then nominate actors – a process that further insulates the black nominations.

This year actors like Michael B. Jordan and Oshea Jackson Jr. deserved to be nominated for their high-ranking performances in movies like Creed and Straight Outta Compton, but they were robbed. Hollywood likes them, but they’re not a part of it.

I’m sorry, Michael and Oshea – it’s not your fault that Hollywood can’t see color.