Jesse Williams delivers speech about racism at the BET awards: is Hollywood not diverse enough?

  • While more diverse faces are showing up on screen, all is white behind the curtain.

    Hollywood is certainly not diverse enough. Roles in historical movies about other races and cultures are still given to whites far too often. This is insulting as it reinforces the limits on actors and actresses of color in Hollywood. In turn, it shows audiences of color that not everyone should be a movie star, most just white people. The implicit message is that white skin is beautiful, that being white is an in to fame, fortune, and success. When actors of color do get the roles they deserve, chances are the writing, producing, and directing chairs are filled by white men. Culturally diverse voices of people of color and of women are suppressed and quelled when not allowed at the table at all levels. The trends may be changing slightly in modern times, but process is slow and tedious.

  • Yes, white males make up the majority of important characters in major Hollywood films.

    Racial minorities make up a small portion of major characters in Hollywood productions, and it's often the same few actors and actresses who are cast in minority roles. Even worse is the number of male actors in important roles vs. the number of females. Females generally only play a few specific roles in Hollywood films, while men dominate the important roles.

  • Hollywood is getting better but stil has "isms"

    While Hollywood is much better than general society regarding race and sexism, it's not free from those arenas. As Chris Rock pointed out in his opening monologue for an award show recently, people of color seem to get many more supporting roles rather than LEADING roles in television and film. They seem to get recognition for their supporting role, but the white male still seems to be given the leads that are associated with a blockbuster film.

    And while I'm straying off topic, Hollywood is very much guilty of agism. If you look at the majority of the films, it seems the female love interest of the main (white) leading male, she is typically several years younger than he.

  • There are plenty of minority actors in Hollywood.

    While racism certainly still exists in the United States, actors in Hollywood are not the victims of it. Some of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood are minorities, including Jackie Chan and Will Smith. The sponsor of the awards, BET, is an entire network that only hires minorities - this would be a scandal if there were a network that only hires white people.

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