Monday, January 18, 2016

The Oscars are not racist

I'm a liberal and love film. But I'm not a totally pc person. I am also not white. So, I find it disturbing that some African American film artists are protesting this year's Oscar nominees as being so white. It's as if they're saying there was racism in the nomination process. African American actress Jada Pinkett Smith and directer Spike Lee are going to boycott the Oscar ceremony.

My problem is that some African Americans seem to be mandating a quota. Art should be color blind. That means talent is judged by quality not race. If the Academy members that have viewed the movies nominated those that they felt were best of the year and not on the basis of race then there is no racism. Simply saying there are no black nominations does not mean that decisions were based on race.

The irony of all this is that Hollywood is the last place for racism. In the sixties, Hollywood was in the forefront of pushing African Americans into the mainstream. In the sixties, there were black leads in TV. Nichelle Nichols as Uhura in Star Trek. Diahann Carroll in Julia. Today, there are TV shows with black leads. And on and on. And it's not as if people of color do not win Oscars. See African American actress Halle Berry. See Director Ang Lee. Update: I forgot one big example. 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture and also won Oscars for black actress Lupita Nyong'o and best adapted screenplay for African American John Ridley IV. And that just occurred in 2013.

The best in film should not be effected by how many African Americans are nominated. The Oscars should be awarded to those who excel in film regardless of race.

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