#HollywoodSoWhite: How Lack of On-Screen Diversity Perpetuates White Supremacy

Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in “Dr. Strange” (Photo credit: YouTube).

By Guest Contributor: Martin Tsai

This post originally appeared on Medium.

By almost single-mindedly catering to a young, white, male audience, Hollywood has been complicit in fostering and perpetuating white hegemony.

The Hollywood Diversity Report by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA found only 29 percent of films released in 2015 featured female leads and only 13.6 percent featured minority leads. A USC Annenberg study of the 700 top-grossing films between 2007 and 2014 (excluding 2011) and their more than 30,000 characters revealed that diversity in casting remained stagnant. White male moviegoers are seldom required to identify or empathize with female or minority characters, something female and minority moviegoers have little choice but to do with white male characters.

We learn from watching. If dramas are developmental exercises in identification and empathy in our formative years, one can easily surmise why many white men — such as those who take part in the alt-right movement — believe the world should revolve around only them, and women and minorities should be relegated to supporting roles or disappear entirely.

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Oscars Controversy Reminds That Asians Don’t Matter in Hollywood

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Guest Contributor: Larissa Lam (@larissalam)

For weeks we have endured endless chatter about #OscarsSoWhite and how to better increase diversity in Hollywood. Now that the awards season has officially ended and the Academy Awards have been handed out, I can finally give my two cents about this.

I watched the Oscars knowing that the acting categories were going to be swept by white actors – after all, only white actors had been nominated. Yet, I could tell that the producers of the show, one of whom was Reginald Hudlin, a black film producer and former BET president, were trying to at least showcase diversity among the chosen presenters. I was happy to see Priyanka Chopra, Lee Byung-Hun and Olivia Munn  presenting awards. Diversity was on display in some categories: Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Inarritu won Best Director for The Revenant, Indian-British director Asif Kapadia won for the documentary Amy, Chileans, Gabriel Osorio Vargas and Pato Escala Peirart, won for Best Animated Short, and Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won for Best Documentary Short.

Ok, so the Oscars were not completely white. But, they came pretty close to being so, and that’s because Hollywood is, itself, exclusionary.

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A Podcast for Women of Colour and Anyone Else Who “Gives an F”

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Have you ever been frustrated by the lack of content — even new media content — with an intersectional focus on feminism and racial identity? I know I have. So, I was delighted earlier this month to learn of F This Weekly,  a fantastic new weekly podcast launched late last year that focuses on content for women of colour, and anyone else who “gives an F”.

F This Weekly was created by Paola Mardo, whose expertise in film marketing and social media combined with her background in both Film & Media Studies and Asian American Studies has resulted in a sizzling podcast project with F This Weekly. Every Friday, Paola invites a guest onto the show to talk in an engaging way about the topics of the day — anything from food to film to feminism.

I had a chance to interview Paola about her inspiration in creating F This Weekly, and her interview appears after the jump.

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