Sample Essay on Racial Issues in Cinematography

oscar partiesDiversity. We hear this word all the time. Lack of diversity – be it in cinematography or in school – is considered to be a mortal sin, and its presence a redeeming factor for almost anything. This year the outcry once again was directed at Oscar awards, which didn’t include any black actors among their nominees for the second year in a row.

Once again we hear that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shows bigotry, gives unfair advantages to white male actors and shows shocking unwillingness to conform to the ideals of diversity. Absolute majority of actors, both American and otherwise, join this blaming and call for urgent measures, which are envisioned in reshuffling the Academy’s membership, creating minimal quotas of minority actors among nominees and suchlike.

However, one has to ask: does this really mean addressing the problem? And is there a problem at all?

Yes, we know that about 94 percent of Academy members are Whites. But how can we speak about unfair absence of black actors among nominees when the current President of the Academy is Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an Afro-American woman?

Some researches claim that current state of the cinema industry doesn’t give minority actors enough opportunities, and some kinds of diversity protocols should be enforced to increase the percentage of Black, Latino and Asian-American actors. Then why not introduce a separate nomination for non-White actors to guarantee that a particular number of minority gets an award? No, this is considered to be racist.

Then why isn’t it considered sexist to give separate awards to men and women? Isn’t it a little bit inconsistent?

Moreover, the demand for a quota (either official or non-official) for minority actors is just as racist as introducing a separate award. It suggests that minority actors have no chances of getting their awards fair and square and need crutches to do so. Consider this – if the quota is introduced, it automatically devaluates all the awards won by minority actors from that moment onwards, for each of them will be speculated to have received an award not because of his talents and accomplishments, but due to the color of his skin.

And if it isn’t racism, one cannot imagine what is.

From all these statements it is possible to conclude that people do everything to create a new scandal out of nothing and media sources happily promote it further into the masses. News writers pick a detail and focus on it all their attention until it becomes the issue of the global scale. Thus, they force people to feel negative emotions while there is already loads of bad news to feel sorry for. But it’s a decision each person has to make: whether to pay attention to every piece one reads every day or concentrate on something more important and let’s hope that the majority makes the right choice.


  1. Aleiss, Angela. Making the White Man’s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies. Westport, CT, 2009. Print
  2. Bernardi, Daniel, ed. The Persistence of Whiteness: Race and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema. London, 2007. Print
  3. Child, Ben. “Oscars 2016: Charlotte Rampling says diversity row is ‘racist to white people’”. The Guardian. 22 2016
  4. Davies, Jude, Carol R. Smith. Gender, Ethnicity and Sexuality in Contemporary American Film. Chicago, IL, 2000. Print
  5. Elsesser, Kim. “One Simple Solution to the Oscar’s Gender Problem.” Feb. 22 2016
  6. Gay, Roxane. “The Oscars and Hollywood’s Race Problem.” The New York Times. 22 2016
  7. Hamilton, Marsha J., Eleanor S. Block. Projecting Ethnicity and Race: An Annotated Bibliography of Studies on Imagery in American Film. Westport, CT, 2003. Print
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