[ View the story "Minorities in Hollywood" on Storify] Minorities in Hollywood
AJAMStream· Tue, Feb 25 2014 14:13:14
Despite milestones achieved by actors such as Halle Berry and Denzel Washington at the Academy Awards, minorities remain relatively invisible in mainstream Hollywood. A
2014 Hollywood Diversity Report
found that of 172 films examined in 2011, only 10.5 percent of them featured minorities in lead roles. And of the top 100 films of 2012 women had fewer speaking roles than in any year since 2007, with only 28.4 percent of roles with speaking parts going to actresses.
Advancements for minorities is also difficult behind the scenes. For the first time in its 86-year history, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is
led by a black woman
, but an investigation of the academy's demographic makeup found it is
93 percent white and 76 percent male
. The average age of a voting member was 63. Critics say lack of diversity in Oscar voters plays a big part in nominations and awards that do not reflect the diverse makeup of the country.
Minorities tend to play lead roles when the subject matter of the film involves race or racial justice and, in all forms of media, people of color and women can be reduced to stereotypes and caricatures. When minorities are the lead in films that reach mainstream success, they typically feature story lines that contribute to the
white savior complex
: when the minority protagonist faces an obstacle that he or she is unable to overcome without the help of a white character.
Yet research shows films including diverse casts do well at the box office. Films that maintain between 21 and 30 percent minority involvement on screen have the
highest median global box office receipts
, earning more than $160 million on average. The
Fast and Furious franchise
of box office hits is often highlighted as an example of how casts that reflect the racial and gender diversity of moviegoers can be profitable.
The Stream asked its online community whether Hollywood accurately reflects the nation's demographics and what it could do to be more inclusive.
Most users said Hollywood does a poor job of depicting minorities.
@julito77 @AJAMStream When #POC ARE onscreen they are hypersexualized, criminalized, killed-off, or a sidekick to a powerful white person.Xavier Luis Burgos
@AJAMStream ...to accurately reflect our nation and subsequently the world today. I do not feel represented at all in Hollywood.Manal Abdulhadi
@LiveFromKenya @DanMing @AJAMStream I've never committed a terrorist act before, so I cant say they do!Leila ليلى
Some people shared the most common stereotypes they see of their own ethnic groups and others.
Don't see myself a healthy successful blk wmn w a PhD & no relational drama in movies, on tv, scripted or reality programming. @AJAMStreamWil Gafney
#ajamstream What Hollywood has taught me: small clusters of white people have one black friend who always gets killed first.mikeyb4
#AJAMStream Asians are seen as "sidekicks" there simply for comedic reasons or with "hidden powers" that, eventually, will help the heroMark C. Wills
What do you think? How can Hollywood better and more accurately reflect minorities and women? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.