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Does a Lack of Black Oscar Nominees Reveal Hollywood’s Racism?

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Posted on October 5 2010 1:00 pm
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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I deplore racism. Fortunately, for the vast majority of my life, I have rarely encountered it. Regarded as black in spite of a mixed heritage, I have lived among peers of all races without much fuss.

Only since becoming a political animal, and openly expressing my conservative views, have I encountered the specter of race-based ire. You may or may not be surprised to learn it’s been entirely from the Left.

It is the Left who regards my blackness as a disability which requires their aid to withstand. It is the Left who puts blacks in a place subordinate to their white peers. It is the Left which dictates how blacks ought to act, what we ought to say, and how we ought to think.

The Left’s racial condescension is unconscionable, made more so by its sincerity. Without the slightest sense of irony, leftists regard themselves as transcendent for exhibiting the “empathy” required to “understand” how difficult it is to not be them.

Bask in the majesty of L.A. Times writer Patrick Goldstein, as he calls us all to our senses regarding race in Hollywood. Not a single black actor is expected to be nominated for an Oscar this year. According to Goldstein, whites must do something to address this atrocity.

The problem actually starts at the top. You have to remember that dramas, not comedies, earn Oscar nominations. And if there were more black executives running the studios, the studios would be far more likely to not only make low-budget, low-brow African American comedies, but make an occasional black-themed drama. But because the studio executive ranks are lily-white, there’s no one on the inside lobbying for that kind of material. And there are also shockingly few African American filmmakers in the indie film community, which is the breeding ground for most of the indie dramas that end up as awards hopefuls.

What sweet patronage. Goldstein’s analysis drips with condescending assumptions.

First, what’s with the “low-budget, low-brow African American comedies” reference? Goldstein seems to imply letting blacks have leeway in Hollywood will result in cinematic finger paintings which white audiences will endure on the off chance a savant emerges from the chaos.

Are films really green-lit over pressure from racial “lobbies?” Why the assumption that, were a black executive to take the reigns, films starring black actors would result? What is the logic there? Goldstein seems to be saying only blacks will cast blacks. In other words, Hollywood is in need of affirmative action, because the quality of a script or the talent of a performer can’t possibly stand on its own.

Goldstein doesn’t allow for the possibility that the blacks simply aren’t interested in becoming indie film makers. If white people don’t stoop to lend them a hand, black artists will forever wander in a creative desert.

It’s a vicious cycle. If there were more African American talent making movies, we’d see more black actors making the rounds at Oscar time. But studio chiefs still believe that a drama with an African American cast is box-office poison. And until someone proves them wrong, the Oscars are going to continue to feature a lot fewer people of color than we get to see in the rest of today’s society. It’s time for a change, but I’ve got to say that when it comes to Oscar opportunities for black talent in Hollywood, change has been far too long in coming.

This trite sentiment serves only to relieve Goldstein’s misguided guilt. It’s not okay to be white and sit idly by while others are black, he seems to say, as if a black actor winning an Oscar has a qualitative effect upon the lives of blacks everywhere.

Shocking though it may be to one who makes their living covering Hollywood, my life is not enriched by a black person receiving an Oscar. Even if it was, I would prefer it were earned through merit rather than dispensed in pity.

Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota’s North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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