The Oscars ARE racist

The 88th Academy Awards were held last Sunday on February 28, 2016. It was a night full of glam, Hollywood and honor. The show certainly had some highlights. Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his first Oscar for his role in “The Revenant.” Vice President Joe Biden made an appearance to speak about sexual assault. “Mad Max: Fury Road” won a whooping six oscars. Even the beloved “Star Wars” droids, BB-8, C3P0 and R2D2 made an appearance on stage. People were dressed to the nines as they accepted their awards for their film awards in 2015. But, that wasn’t what the night about.

The Oscars were under fire especially this year for their lack of diversity in their acting categories. All white actors were nominated in the categories, an evident pattern was inevitably going to be called out. I think it is reasonable for people of color to be furious with this event. In a world where white supremacy and institutional racism is still very prominent, it’s a blow when outstanding people of color are still underrepresented and not recognized. African Americans feel snubbed for movies that featured POC that were not recognized.

Chris Rock was this year’s host and didn’t beat around the bushes when it came to addressing the Oscars controversy. Right away, he begins in his monologue bringing up the exact topic. What did people expect? Chris Rock is a comedian. His career revolves around bringing up current issues and events to joke about it. Some of Hollywood’s finest gathered into one room and Rock surely called them out for the lack of diversity without one shame. It was expected and it was hilarious. He certainly did a great job as the host.

The lack of diversity in the media has been an issue for years. The Academy Awards just reminded us of how crucial it was. It’s one thing for people to argue that the nominees reflect the talent they had but it’s not quite valid when projects like “Concussion,” “Straight Outta Compton,” and “Beasts of No Nation” weren’t nominated. The Academy should be recognizing everyone, not just white people. The United States claims to be a “melting pot” but that isn’t what is being shown on television or anywhere really. We are a white supremacist society and it is harmful. Our goal is life is to make progress and that isn’t what is happening. People are reasonably upset. For so long, it was just white people who had their rights and while times have changed, a new institutionalized system of racism has risen. White people have the privilege of being represented in many different ways. POC on the other hand, do not. POC are still combating stereotypes and trying to find their place on a spectrum that is complex and has several limits.

Diversity is and never was a “trend,” it’s people’s realities.

Representation matters. The arts are form of expressing, it exists to make a statement. White shouldn’t be the only faces shown or be the only voices heard. It is unjust. Sexism and racism have become more prominent in very subtle ways.There’s only been one female to win best director in all 88 years of giving out Oscars. There’s only been seven African American winners in best acting nominations. A large majority of the Academy are white, middle-aged men. You’re telling that isn’t eyebrow-raise-worthy?

So when Rock makes a large claim saying “Hollywood is racist!” I can’t help but to agree.