Hollywood has been synonymous with glamour, stardom, affluence, and a reflection of the American society. However, off late Hollywood has been accused of and plagued with many imperfections. Racism in Hollywood has been inherent and is getting magnified in the current times. The issue of deep-rooted racism in Hollywood has been covered extensively in media in the last few years and is snowballing into a major problem for the industry. The current article explores the aspects and dimensions of racism which manifests itself in various forms and magnitude in Hollywood.
Instances of Racism Discrimination in Hollywood
America remains a white-dominated society. There has been discrimination and racist attitude against the African-American black community since a very long time in the American society. It comes as no surprise that Hollywood is also a white-dominated industry. Two branches of people wield tremendous power in Hollywood- the directors and the executives. The directors’ members preside over the most powerful movie stories in America and the cast and crew of the movies. The executives on the other hand, and its studio chiefs, executive producers, investors etc. are instrumental behind making the important financial decisions which keep the industry alive and financially viable.
Data on these two important branches reveal a complete lack of diversity. Approximately 96% of the more than 450 members in the executives are white. Additionally, 87% of these executives are male also, who have a mean retirement age of 65. The black community contributes significantly to the Hollywood. They constitute 37% of the total American population and bought 46% of the total movie tickets sold in the year 2014. However, when it comes to sharing the important positions in Hollywood like America’s most rewarded and popular directors, they are on the peripheries. Among the 400 members of the branch, only 6% are Hispanics, 5% are black and 4% are Asians.
The problem also goes ahead to the Oscar nominations and awards which have been won by the black actors. The academy members who constitute the jury and decide on the nominations and the winners are also dominated by white. Such group consists of 89% male and 84% white members. Since 1927, out of the 435 nominations, 423 have gone to the white directors which is a whopping 97% of the total nominations. Only 1% of the total nominations i.e. 4 have gone to women, of which only 1 has won so far. Some also argue that the academy can only honor movies which are made and actors who work in it. 87% of lead actors, 87% of the directors and 92% of the writers for the top 163 movies made in 2014, were white. Women directed only 3% of these top 163 movies in 2014.
Hollywood needs to be more inclusive to improve its image and abandon the tag of racism which it has acquired. It should provide adequate opportunities to the directors, actors, writers etc. of all races to participate equally and without any prejudice. The jury on the academy awards should also be inclusive. A neutral and more inclusive and tolerant Hollywood will stand in good stead going ahead.