Thursday, February 27 2014
RACE AND CULTURE
WITH JAMILAH KING
the Structural Racism of the Oscars
by Jamilah King
Here’s what we know about the Oscars: they’re Hollywood’s penultimate celebration of achievement in film. And the people who will decide them are generally old, white men.
That last point has increasingly become a problem as America’s movie-going demographics have changed dramatically over the past several decades. The country is growing more racially diverse, but our films — particularly the ones that reach Oscar consideration — don’t often reflect those changes. It’s a structural problem, of course. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts the Sciences, the group that votes for the Oscars, is nearly 94 percent white and 77 percent male. Oscars voters have a median age of 62 and people younger than 50 constitute just 14 percent of the Academy’s membership. Black voters make up just 2 percent of the academy, and Latinos make up an even smaller percentage. Check out this infographic from Lee and Low Books:
So even though hits like “12 Years a Slave” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” have led some to describe this as the “year of the black film,” it’s still yet another year of the white male voter who will decide its significance.
(h/t Lee and Low)