Given the random nature of the RT’s posts, it may come as a surprise to learn that there actually is some planning that goes into what I write. I maintain an ever-growing list of topics that I want to write about. Now, I don’t do a very good job of following through with that list, but it does exist. There are several posts in the development queue that – at least in theory – will be published soon.
However, once in a while something comes along that wasn’t part of the plan. It’s usually a hot-button issue that appears on the scene and causes my lightning-quick rambling/ruminating reflexes to kick in.
This post of one of those that just happened – in a matter of minutes, as a matter of fact, or at least the first draft happened in minutes.
And here it is:
A very dear friend of mine opined on Facebook recently that it is simply wrong that the Academy of Motion Pictures didn’t nominate a single person of color for an Academy Award. And he is far from being the only one saying that. The media is all abuzz with stories of what an offense this supposedly is. Some have gone as far as to accuse the Academy of being a group of old, racist, white men.
Now, I love my friend as a brother, but I must respectfully disagree with his view.
I’ll confess that I know nothing of the Academy, because I could not possibly care less what the Academy does or says. In fact, I can proudly say that I don’t care much of anything about what anybody in Hollywood says or does (except maybe Clint Eastwood). So I’m the least qualified to pass judgment on the Academy.
But I’ll bet that they are well-connected, politically-correct, savvy (and fairly liberal) folks that care a lot about how others view them. And I’ll bet that they well knew how their efforts would be judged in the racially-charged world in which we live. And perhaps they chose to move forward because they genuinely believe that this was the group most worthy of nomination. Perhaps it wasn’t a decision based in a race-driven selection process, after all.
Now, had the group of nominees ALL been people of color, would my friend (or anyone else, for that matter) have felt it equally wrong that there were no Caucasian/Europeans in the group? Would anyone go on one of the news channels and say that it was an outrage that no white people were chosen? I submit that most wouldn’t say anything of the sort in any venue for fear of being labeled a racist or, worse, a white supremacist.
I’ll submit to you that, if the previous paragraph contains even the tiniest grain of truth, then we have a double-standard in our society when it comes to racial issues.
I think it says a lot about our society and its racial views that we are still “counting”. This group doesn’t have enough of this race or ethnicity, or that group has too many of another. As if there should be some magic number (i.e. quota) of this or that race in order for it to be “fair” or “right”. I’ll also submit to you that the concept of quotas, written or simply expected, is nothing but codified racism.
For any of us to say that we hold no racist or prejudiced views, we must eliminate ANY consideration of race from how we think about or choose among people. To say that it is wrong that one race is or is not represented to our liking in a particular group indicates that we are still focusing on skin color and/or ethnicity. Which means that we still have a problem.
Shouldn’t the absence of racism result in “color-blindness”? That we evaluate people based on their skills, accomplishments, actions, etc. instead of the color of their skin? When we start expecting a certain representation of skin color in a particular group, haven’t we lost our color-blindness? And doesn’t that push us toward racism?
Now, I’ll admit that I’ve struggled with various aspects of racism throughout my entire life. And I’ll admit that those struggles are far from over. But I can say that, at least in this particular case, I was absolutely unaware of a problem with the slate for the Academy Awards, primarily because I’m not a “counter”, and secondly, I try very hard not to consider race when evaluating people and groups.
The most powerful thing that Dr. King ever said (IMHO) was his dream that his children would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I feel exactly the same way about my children and I tell them that. I don’t want them held back OR given opportunities based solely on the color of their skin. I want them judged by who and what they are, not because they are of a particular race.
Yet our society continues to insist that every group consist of some pre-defined (aka pre-judged – or prejudiced) balance of the races. In my view, that simply perpetuates the racial problems that exist in our society. Until we can be truly colorblind and evaluate people solely on who they are on the inside, we will remain trapped in the racial divide in which we find ourselves.
As I said above, I don’t give a hoot about how Hollywood insiders honor other Hollywood insiders. And I’m certainly not going to count how many nominees fall into this ethnicity or that race.
Instead, I’m going to try my best to be absolutely colorblind in how I deal with people. How ’bout we all try that?