#OscarsSoWhite: A student’s perspective

Racism. I’m sure we all have a range of vague definitions we associate with this term, condemning many of them. Blood on the leaves of the American tree, still growing in soil enriched in historical indigestion.

“Everything is not a racial issue,” I concur with those who hock words of civil disagreement at activists, those consciously agitated, and of course those who blindly follow the trending movement of the moment, those who may refute. Here, borrow my schema, my organized pattern of thought of which creates the interpretation of life that I have because then and only then will you not have the capacity to see beyond what reality exists to me. A reality where I tense up on all the back roads that my brother takes in driving me to college because Lord knows what I’d do if unarmed, with hands behind his head, he told me he couldn’t breathe. A reality where systematically, opportunity and wealth are not equally distributed to you. A reality when two years in a row reveals an array of faces from the Caucasian spectrum of ethnicities despite the substantial diverse pool of unequivocal talent, you begin to question yet another system that seems to considerably grant a disservice to your people. No, everything is not a race issue, but provided the context, some just may be.

On January 14, the 88 Annual Academy Award Nominations were announced. On January 15, controversy immersed most of the nation.

Twenty acting slots.

“Straight out of Compton,” a movie I was truly moved by through all levels of artistry, received recognition– that is, recognition for its white screenwriters, excluding, of course homage payment to any of its predominantly black cast or the picture as a whole. “Concussion” a beautiful movie I relished in the sentiment of due to my predisposition to brain deficiencies as a psychology major, failed to acknowledge the superb role seemingly contrived in Will Smith with an Oscar in mind. Need I go on?

With Hollywood social unrest and consequential media hellfire ablaze at every outlet, the Academy had, needless to say, since then began revisions of its board to ultimately “diversify” its body of members. Glory, right? Not in the opinion of everyone.

As much as I hate to give more unworthy relevance to a woman who dubiously sees the error of her ways, I must play devil’s advocate and note the perspective of African American actress and model Stacy Dash, who when asked her opinion on television show “Fox and Friends” of #OscarsSoWhite adversaries Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and Director Spike Lee’s decisions to boycott the Oscars, retorted that it was “ludicrous.” She went on to say “We need to make up our minds. We either want segregation or integration, and if we don’t want segregation, we need to get rid of channels like BET and The BET Awards, and the Image Awards.” She makes a valid point in expressing that truth of the fact that we cannot have a truly integrated society, continually progressive in that sense in its efforts of holistic equality if we have divisive tendencies from any party. However, in light of the fact that we exist in a world where total equality is still but an echoing dream, to take what small portion of the American pie black people have taken it upon themselves to deem theirs away, would in my opinion be “ludicrous.”

Ms. Dash seems to have forgotten leverage of her career dually stemming from channels like BET and Award shows like the Image awards where rightful recognition is amassed by those snubbed by inadequately representative systems.

Let’s take a look at the situation analogous to a dinner party. The dynamics of dinner parties are always so great. Everybody wants to go of course, and everybody is supposed to be invited. Well let’s say you are continually not invited to this dinner party. You’re just as good on all levels you could possibly be judged based upon, but you’re just never really on the list. You’ve been considered at times, pitied at others, but there is just never really ever a change in the construct of the situation as a whole. Do you continue to live the life of want, hoping shamelessly for a change to just be invited? Or do you have your own damn dinner party and invite all your friends that were also not invited to the other party?

As black history dawns as a month devoted to honoring the dynamic progress black culture has made against a continually resistant force, I challenge you to simply understand a circumstance or perspective beyond your own. If only just for these 29 days, so be it.

There is one comment

  1. symphonic1

    Idris Elba and Beast of No Nation were snubbed for different reasons. He deserved a nomination more than Will Smith, and Beast of no Nation was more worthy of a nomination for best director more so than Straight outta Compton. They were snubbed because they were produced and distributed by Netflix!! How you like them apples for discrimination, or is it how you like them oranges?

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