Every since the 2016 Acedmey award nominations were announced there has been much discussion about racism, and lack of diversity in Hollywood. Many are planning to boycott the awards ceremony and have been voicing their displeasure about the lack of colour amongst the nomonies. I support any movement that opens a dialogue leading to positive change.
We can’t get around the fact that in America (and yes even in Canada and around the world) people are still discriminated solely based on the colour of their skin, their body type, sexual orientation, Religion and their ethnicity. We even talk a little about the fact that those who identify as disabled are not taken in to consideration. “Talk a little” are the three key words in my last sentence.
For today’s blog post I want to expand on this movement and continue to support those who are different. The one thing that has been absent thus far in this discussion going on about diversity is that those with physical differences are once again being overlooked, and ignored. Being ignored by my peers is not a new concept however as I get older, and as we continue to change our tolerance for what is accepted I get more and more frustrated that real change still alludes us.
There was a quote by actor Will Smith that I saw today and it read “This is about children that are going to sit down and watch this show and they’re not going to see themselves represented”. That is a powerful statement and so very true on so many levels. Although I believe that Mr. Smith meant only a very narrow definition as to “representation” it does erase the fact that this statement is true. I’m 34 I’m still waiting to see someone that represents me, I’m still seen as “ugly”.
The whole concept of storytelling, needs to change. We still need to continue to tell the stories that move us, make us laugh, make us think, and cry however the ways we protray those stories visually, needs to be brought in to the 21st century. In order to tell those stories more effectively we need to provide the opportunities for those who play those parts to be protrayed by the best of us. Whether or not that person is visuablly different, cause I hate to break it to everyone, we are all different.
I’m frustrated that when I was growing up I automatically dismissed becoming an actor because I had a facial difference. I did participate in school plays, I thought I was pretty good, and I enjoyed it. I’m frustrated that when I was growing up, if there was someone with a facial difference they typically held the role of the villain. I’m frustrated that in the event there is an actual role where someone is protrayed not as a villain with a facial difference they use heavy makeup, and protectics to achieve the look instead of reaching out to find an actor with a facial difference. I’m frustrated that when there is a role for anyone who is considered different or disabled it tends to elicit a sense of pity instead of letting that actor shine. A special shout out to NCIS New Orleans for hiring an amazing actor who happens to get around on some awesome wheels.
The Acedemy recently announced sweeping changes to bolster the diversity of their membership in the hopes that future votes will better reflect the global makeup of the world. Here is the press release:
Although this is a great first step I hope that they include real diversity and not focus on just colour, gender, or sexual orientation.
I’m not ignorant to the fact that those with facial differences will probably always get the short end of the stick but I hope that one day when kids sit down to watch these ceremonies they truly do see great role models they can look up to and admire. I hope they can see someone that represents them which creates a spark that changes their life.
One thought on “#OscarsSoWhite and Diversity”
Hello Penny, I’m not sure how I actually discovered you, but I’m glad I did. I’ve been experiencing the things you’ve described for most of my near 76 years, plus growing up Black in jim crow America. I refuse to take the victim role, though I’ve been shut out of many opportunities in my life. I guess the thing that frustrates me more than anything, is the fact that my Black “brothers” treated with more contempt than any other group of people – right up to this day. That includes “Christians.”
What I get from your writing is that you refuse to be a victim, too. Fortunately, I had several teachers, especially early on, who supported me – even before I was unaware that they were doing things to bolster my sense of worth. I wonder, in this cold, cruel world of today, if children who look different get that kind of attention. I’ve observed that people seem to be getting more and more “looks” oriented – relegating people who don’t measure up to their standard of good looks as totally worthless.
Again, glad I discovered you. Hope we can converse directly some time.