Thursday, January 21, 2016

All -white Oscars a step backwards for mankind: here's why

I was thrilled as a child when Marlon Brando declined his Oscar for  Best Actor for (The Godfather,)  back in 1973, to protest the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. Not because I was such a political child, although I did care about human rights; it was more that something shocking, unexpected and somehow very alive and human was happening in the midst of pageantry and glitz.

This year, I too, am blinded by the white!

Simple logic: We are a diverse nation. Are we expected to believe that there is a higher percentage of Caucasian talent in the field of acting, compared to the talent and abilities of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American talent? And all the other races not mentioned? Let’s assume that this is not the case.

Therefore, if the actors nominated for the Academy Awards represent the best in the business at this time, then why are only Caucasian actors represented? All 20 acting nominations went to white actors!

The question of why the Oscars are all-white again for the second year in a row is not the easiest to answer, and the solution is as complex as we wish to make it.

A shift in consciousness is what is called for, and what this will take, I do not know, except history tells us this shift occurs when one or a few stand up and take action, a tipping point occurs, something is uncorked and justice, for a time beings to flow. Sometimes progress is made, but often, in the case of inequality and prejudice it seems there are many steps backward during this timeline. 

An all -white roster of nominees indicates a step backwards.

It doesn’t matter if it is due to lack of great roles for non-Caucasians, lack of consciousness or objectivity on the part of the judges, ignorance or apathy—and it is certainly a combination of many factors. What matters is that something is off-balance. The world of talented actors is not being accurately represented.

Hopefully awareness of this issue will awaken care and understanding, some measure of clarity, and some decisions to make a positive effort to change--ourselves and the choices we make. We do not need to think in terms of inclusion so much as picking our heads up and taking off the blinders, seeing what is real and making our choices based on a reality more in line with the truth--even, or especially when it comes to our beloved movies, in this magical Oscar world that is bigger and brighter, than our own. The realm of movies is potentially unlimited--so why not go with that vision, instead of this narrow one?

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