It’s a shame to think that in the twenty first century in a country as progressive as the United States we still have to hear the war cry of racism at every turn. In this particular instance regarding the Oscars who, for the first time in whatever the fuck amount of years haven’t shown enough recognition to people “of color,” whatever that might mean.
In this country racism is alive and well, but not as a layman might expect: rather as business of sorts. A way to get people to think certain ways and do certain things – not always positive – with intended results. I realize now I should have said layperson, but frankly I don’t give a shit. Hate mongers of every stripe complain incessantly about all the repression and underrepresentation they feel; for them this is a land of fear, violence and oppression, unlike like Mexico, the Middle East and 99.9% of Africa to rattle off a few enlightened counterparts. People of all colors live in the U.S. as second class citizens to be beaten down, abused and oppressed.
To slump down to the tired and stupid argument, I would posit that they should go back to their own country. To take the higher road I would say (sorry ladies) stop being a bitch in this, your own country. We’re most of us immigrants here or of immigrant stock. The Irish, Jews, Germans, Catholics, Greeks, Portuguese, Lebanese, Inuit, Uzbekistani, Hondurans, Mannish, et al were all discriminated against at one time or another by those that came before them. You talk of slavery, I talk of the enslavement of the Jews (by Africans; Egyptians to be precise). That’s not to mention the Roman persecution of the Germanics, the Spanish persecution of alleged heretics, Hutu genocide of the Tutsi, and nameless, countless other inhumanities of man against man (again, sorry ladies).
We live in a world of humans and therefore as hopelessly flawed as humans. We can fight or die, sit silent or speak out. The problem with speaking out is that when too many idiots do it all at once then the air gets a little thick with bullshit. As much as the lack of colored folks nominated for Oscars keeps me up at night I’m glad that two first timers, Marcus Mariota and Cardale Jones (Mariota of U of Oregon being the first Polynesian to win the Heisman , and Jones of Ohio State being a previously at risk youth and third string quarterback to make history) were the first two “colored” quarterbacks to be in the first national college football championship. Sadly I didn’t consider how underrepresented Euro-American men were in that fantastic game. That’s college ball. To take a totally different angle, I don’t even need to mention our president of color who won not one but two elections by popular vote.
The more we sit back, pen and paper in hand and try to demarcate just what race does what and when, we as Americans are going to be fucked as a society. To quote De La Soul:
“See them Cubans don’t care what y’all niggaz do, Columbians ain’t never ran with your crew, Why you acting all spicy and sheisty, the only Italians you knew was icees”
The business of racism is the business of separation. Identity based on the anxiety of losing the nebulous core of the self. People eat, drink, shit, breathe and fuck regardless of where they came from. I would hope this wouldn’t be an issue anymore. Sure there are regrets and skeletons in the closet, but we all have them. If we were all to beat ourselves to death over the shitty things we’ve done, how would we grow as people? How could we grow as a society?
Racism and all other bigotry is always going to be a one way street in that it’s by its very nature polarizing. There is no room for a gray area (note the aforementioned color and the color of the human brain) so there will never be peace. I don’t call for any sort of bullshit, I would just posit the question: isn’t there enough real world shit to deal with – food, cancer, bills, age, insurance, relationships, to name a few – that worrying about who is underrepresented at the Oscars shouldn’t be an issue?
I’m sure the Academy is flawed and that perhaps life terms is a bit too long to cycle through enough diversity. I’m sure Cheryl Boone Isaacs hates black people. I’m sure that the Academy seeks to award talent, not just showing up (or sending out screeners late). But what do I know… I’ll leave off with this: with the possible exception of the Somali guy that played the pirate and lost all his money, almost all of those nominees are millionaires, or at least richer than you. Regardless of color. And they always will be.