The 2016 Oscar nominations revived an age-old debate about skin colour and how the world is being led by white supremacists pushing their ‘agenda’. Every major news publication and media house made it a point to talk about the skin colour and race of the actors that were nominated – this was done in an effort to highlight a lack of diversity in the nomination list.
What I find appalling is the degeneration of the concept of equality . The views and opinions shared during this debacle suggested that, in order for diversity to shine through at the Oscars, we must without fail nominate (and award) people of colour. This is not equality. This is asking the system to align its processes and choices so that it includes people of all colours, regardless of their actual contribution or merit. In their attempts to stand up for minorities and fight the good fight – people delineated from the premise of the race dabate -which is to treat everyone, regardless of skin colour/race or ethnicity the SAME way.
Bringing up the skin colour of people who were nominated is racist in itself. To summarise an event based on people’s race is the most regressive and unitellectual thing the media has done in a while. It reflects poorly on our times and efforts to deal with racism. The actors featured in a Times article are some of the finest actors in the world. It is sad and almost tragic that they’ve been reduced to the colour of their skin. Times explicitly stated “Not a single non-white actor is nominated in any of the four acting categories.” My question to the writer of this particular piece and the thousand just like it, is this – When you hear about someone winning an award, or being nominated, or someone being born or dying, is your first thought about the colour of their skin?
Also, when you look in the mirror does the colour of your skin strike you so poignantly that you have to categorize, summarize and dramatize every situation, event and happening in the world by the race of the people involved?
Yes, there are minorities, yes there are people who are treated unfairly because of their skin colour or ethnicity. But, is this discourse about the Oscars being too ‘white’ helping these people? Is it alleviating the atrocities inflicted on men and women of minority communities? Is it helping the 500,000 minorities in the world who have to deal with some form of bias or the other everyday of their lives? How is your little rant about the Oscars helping anyone? Have you considered that you are belittling talented actors who have built successful careers and given us beautiful cinema, by suggesting that they were nominated primarily because of the colour of their skin?
There is something fundamentally wrong with a generation that is so obsessed with identifying everything on the basis of colour. Morgan Freeman once said “The only way to get rid of racism, is to stop talking about it” I think he’s got that right. black, brown, white, yellow, pink , green or maroon, people should not be addressed by the colour of their skin when it suits your debate on racism. You are partaking in the racist agenda. You are in no way reducing its impact.