Oscar’s lack of diversity reflects a larger issue

Josephine Latimer , Guest Writer

We need to talk about diversity, and the lack thereof in the media. Most of the media we consume, whether it be films, shows or even music, the vast majority of the people we see and hear are white, and more times than not are white males.

The media is so saturated by whiteness that it comes as a surprise when a person of color is given a lead spot in a show or movie. It has become the default that the hero will be a white male.

The person who endures beatings and bear attacks (I’m looking at you Leo) are tough white males. And of course, Leonardo DiCaprio is nominated for an Oscar for his performance in The Revenant. I’m not saying that he didn’t give a fantastic performance, but what about the other nominations?

Who on the ballot is a person of color? What lead role is a black man or woman? Who on the ballot is Asian, Hispanic, Indian? This is the Oscars, the most prestigious of all award shows, where credit should be given where credit is due.

In a nation that is already so diverse, where there are diverse actors and directors out there, the assumption should not be that all of the actors nominated for an Oscar are white.

The root of the problem is the fact that these roles are continuously being given to white people. It’s a cycle that needs to be broken. There are so many talented people in this country, why should all the roles ostracize those people of color?

Mary Cordisco, junior English major, agrees that there is a problem with the lack of diverse roles, “the biggest issue is the lack of roles for people of color…I think the solution to better representation within awards shows… is first addressing the issue of more roles being offered to nonwhite people.”

Another major problem is the lack of diversity on the Academy board. According to the LA Times, “Oscar voters are nearly 94% caucasian and 77% male” and the “median age is 62.”

Those who vote on what movies make it to the Oscars, the people that determine who is nominated for those coveted spots, hold the most power. When the people who have the power who makes it into the Oscar do not reflect the general public there is an issue.

Sarah Kennedy, junior Education major, also sees the problem with the mainly old, white male Academy voters. “I do think it is an issue that the board does not have much diversity…it is important for the people in charge to have fair representation.”

If the Oscars did not rely on having white males be the default, diversity would grow. And if the biggest award show in the nation, if not the world, had better representation, we would see an increase of diversity in all forms of media. I hope that in the coming years the Oscars will broaden its scope and become more diverse, I hope those who vote better represent the country we live in and I hope people of color are cast in fully fleshed roles, that they are the ones who are recognized for their fantastic performances.