Is Hollywood doing enough to address racism? | The Tylt
Is Hollywood doing enough to address racism?
Many Asian actors are getting increasingly vocal about Hollywood whitewashing and studios that often put white actors instead of Asian stars at the center of these narratives. Prominent actress and comedian Margaret Cho helped to start the Twitter campaign #WhitewashedOUT to address the lack of Asian representation in Hollywood movies and TV, and to hold the industry accountable. There's no lack of talent.
While Hollywood prides itself on being liberal and becoming more diverse over the last few decades, there's still a long way to go. Typical excuses that faces of color don't drive box office ticket sales, or the idiotic belief that the world isn't ready to see [insert racial group] at the center of Hollywood productions are all bullshit.
Critics of whitewashing movies have successfully protested movies like "Stonewall" and "Gods of Egypt" in the past—both of which put Black and other characters of color in the background or in small, stereotypical roles. These films are not only racially offensive, but historically inaccurate. Egyptians are people of color, and Black queer and trans people were at the the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. These are FACTS!
Not surprisingly, these movies failed at the box office. The upcoming Matt Damon vehicle "The Great Wall" is just the latest film hit with similar criticism for hiring a white guy instead of a Chinese actor (because y'know, that would have been too historically accurate). And yet, Hollywood filmmakers continue defend this nonsense. SMH!
Hollywood continues to put white actors at the center of narratives about Black people and other people of color. Not only is it whitewashing entertainment, but often-times perpetuates the "white savior complex." Hollywood accredits the success of movies like "The Help," "The Blind Side," and "Django Unchained" to the white savior character at the center of narratives about race or racism in America. Hmm...
But movies like "Fruitvale Station" and "Selma" have been critically acclaimed and successful as well (but mainly ignored at the Oscars). Hollywood's rule? If you want to talk about race in a film, make sure you put a white person in it! (Y'know, instead of the oppressed people who are actually experiencing the struggles being able to defend or lead themselves in the movie). Hollywood believes people of color can only be subservient to win!
Hollywood has a long way to go before its diversity and racial issues are fully addressed, but there are moments of progression.
In 2016, there are mainstream films like "Queen of Katwe" and "Hidden Figures" are garnering praise and acclaim. These films not only portray people of color in positive, complex characterizations, but really showcase their humanity at the center of these narratives. And that's what progressive moviegoers really want to see: diversity.
Since then, the Academy responded with multiple diversity initiatives. This year, 700 new members were invited into the Academy with a major focus on racial and gender diversity. The Academy hopes the move will have a dramatic impact on the cultural makeup of its award contenders.
The Academy just created a new role titled the Director of Talent Development and Inclusion to further address the diversity issues within the organization (which has been historically made up of older white men).
And although the Oscars (and Hollywood as an industry), has a long way to go—advocates within the industry have been fighting for better representation across TV and film for decades. Pretty much ever since the golden-age of Hollywood. And things seem to finally be improving.