Is Hollywood Racist?

Is Hollywood Racist
Is Hollywood Racist

According to a CNN online report titled “Commentary: Hollywood Sees World In Black And White,” the entertainment industry, particularly in film and television, focuses primarily on Caucasians and African-Americans. So where are all the Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, and other racial groups?

Is Hollywood Racist

Philip Rodriguez, a filmmaker that specializes in producing documentaries, is hoping to address this issue. He has worked to gather material to produce a documentary that highlights the political efforts of the Latino population. With the upcoming elections, Philip believes that empowering Latinos to voice their thoughts in the political process is a key to more balanced representation of race in society.

Minorities In The Media

Many of the sitcoms including Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Saved By The Bell, for instance, have numerous roles for the White and Black populations, but very few for Asians or Latinos. Moreover, popular movies such as Batman simply lack roles for individuals of any other race.

On the other hand, action films, particularly martial arts films, have a strong presence of Asian actors. This is the case with stars like Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Bruce Lee. Movies that they star in have numerous Asian stars.

Many films and television shows contain stereotyped roles of actors in regards to race. The film Next Friday, for example, portrays most of the Latino characters as gang members, and I really would have liked to see a more positive portrayal. It also seems like Asian characters on film or TV disproportionately play roles of martial arts experts and play limited roles of other types of characters.

More Than Just Race

Race is not the only thing that Hollywood lacks diversity in. There could also be more diverse roles of characters in regards to nationality. In other words, there are very few characters from countries such as Nigeria, Bosnia, El Salvador, or parts of the world other than America. There haven’t been characters from any of these nationalities in E.T. or Friends.

The roles of male and female characters are also stereotyped. Male characters are still portrayed to have stronger roles than female characters, with clichés ranging from the damsel-in-distress role to the heroic prince saving the day.

This trend is changing, with TV shows such as Xena: The Warrior Princess, in which the female characters are presented as strong and assertive, not always the ones being rescued. Buffy The Vampire Slayer also stars female characters that aren’t dependent on the heroic efforts of male characters.

Movies and TV would be more interesting if there was more diverse representation of characters and less stereotypical portrayals of them. Perhaps in the future things will get better.

Entertainment has made less progress in promoting diversity than many other industries. The education and healthcare industries, for instance, represent a larger variety of racial backgrounds than the film and television industry.

author avatar
Ken Wells