Hollywood's Obsession With Faux Diversity
Blacks protest after Academy Awards snub black actors.
In a “tradition” better described as a tiresome regularity, political activism remained an integral part of Sunday’s Academy Awards show. This year’s whine about the Oscars being “so white” reflected the latest manufactured outrage by those who view everything in terms of the racial, ethnic and gender divisions. Host Chris Rock didn’t disappoint those looking to score political points, but it was hardly a one-sided skewering. As commentator Mary Katherine Ham observed, Rock “seemed to grasp that if the problem is a lack of diversity, why not diversify one’s targets?” And so he did.
He was at his best when he put the aforementioned manufactured outrage in the proper historical context:
“Why are we protesting? The big question: Why this Oscars? … It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole no black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times. Okay? You gotta figure that it happened in the 50s, in the 60s. … And black people did not protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time, you know? … We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. You know, when your grandmother’s swinging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short.”
Rock could have gone for the jugular, as in reminding (or is that informing?) a group of almost monolithically Democrat supporters that the racist-based resistance to those protests was overwhelmingly perpetrated by members of that same party, but he didn’t. Instead he likened Hollywood racism to the exclusionary practices of a college sorority. “Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist,” Rock stated. “But it ain’t that racist that you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’ That’s how Hollywood is.”
Rock makes a point, but misses the far bigger picture regarding exclusionary tendencies. A sketch where Rock interviewed black American moviegoers in Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills was far more indicative. Other than “Straight Out of Compton,” most of the interviewees had never heard of other movies nominated for an Oscar in any category, with one woman actually accusing Rock of making up movie titles. “These are real movies!” Rock told her. “Like in London?” she asked.
More like in an industry with an over-arching problem best described by the New York Post. While noting the sketch exposes the “vast cultural distance from ‘white Hollywood’ to black working-class folks a few miles away,” the paper explains Rock would have experienced “the same reactions at cineplexes from Des Moines to Bay Ridge,” because “so much of what Hollywood makes — and even more of what it singles out for honors — just doesn’t connect to the lives of most Americans, black or white.”
The paper further notes that while many argue Hollywood could make more money with a more diverse composition of talent, it is just as likely that religion-friendly pictures would be just as remunerative. “The academy’s problem isn’t simply that it’s ‘so white,’” the Post states. “It’s that, like so much of the American elite, it has absolutely no idea how the other half lives — or what it likes.”
Not exactly. Hollywood is well aware of how millions of Americans live, but much like the “Black Lives Matter” activists, they prefer self-aggrandizing narratives versus inconvenient reality. Thus anyone in “flyover country” who isn’t aligned with the entire package of leftist dogma promulgated by both groups is labeled either bigoted, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobe, etc. — or a boob incapable of seeing that those constitute all of America’s ostensible evils.
In that vein Rock gave the glitterati just what they wanted. “Things are going to be a little different at the Oscars,” he said. “This year, in the ‘In Memoriam’ package — it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies.”
Perhaps a better ‘In Memoriam’ package would have mentioned the black people who were shot and killed by black criminal thugs in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Atlanta and St. Louis, where surging murder rates are likely attributable to the relentless police-bashing that has made many officers fearful of doing their jobs.
Ironically, Rock was criticized for a lack of diversity in his criticism about a lack of diversity. “Representation is a problem in Hollywood for all minorities, but all night long, the show’s jokes focused almost entirely on the problem as it pertains to black people,” complained Washington Post columnist Jessica Contrera, who also hammered Rock for a “crude” Asian joke that consisted of bringing three Asian children onstage, posing as bankers from PricewaterhouseCoopers. “They sent us their most dedicated, accurate and hard working representatives,” Rock said. “Please welcome Ming Zhu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz.” In a follow-up jab, he added, “If anybody’s upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids.”
Contrera’s angst also focuses on the dearth of Hispanic actors “who are twice as under-represented as black actors at the Oscars,” pointing readers to another Washington Post piece by Dan Zak. Zak provided plenty of graphs demonstrating the Left’s idea of “diversity” is all about sufficient minority representation relative to each ethnic group’s share of the nation’s population. One is left to wonder if such bean counting must be as rigorously applied to an NBA dominated by black Americans, an LPGA dominated by Asians, or any other enterprise with “disparate” ethnic representations.
In truth, Hollywood’s 800-pound gorilla isn’t the dearth of minority representation, or even the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) investigation of gender discrimination that may lead to a class-action lawsuit. It is their industry-wide contempt for conservatism. “Conservatives should never stop noting that the three primary targets of contemporary race protests — big cities, universities, and Hollywood — are staffed top-to-bottom with leftists and have been for decades,” explains National Review’s David French.
To his credit, Chris Rock pointed out some of that hypocrisy, but who’s kidding whom? The leftist-dominated big cities, universities and Hollywood are America’s epicenters of ideological apartheid.
Perhaps next year Academy voters will feel some pressure to be more inclusionary and diverse. But one shouldn’t expect ideology to be part of the equation.