Hello, fellow moviegoers!
In case you’ve been living under a rock that’s buried 10-feet below a mountain of other rocks, racial diversity has become one of the most controversial issues that Hollywood is facing right now. Whether it be from the whitewashing of films such as Exodus: Gods and Kings to the Oscars So White boycott, this is an issue that has stepped into the spotlight as one of Hollywood’s biggest. Many film fans and filmmakers alike have started to get up in arms about the under-representation of minorities in major films. But what’s actually going on? What do the statistics say? Is there any change coming?
It would be ignorant of me not to point out that a majority of major films star white people. According to USC Annenberg’s MDSC Initiative, 73.1% of actors in the top 100 films of 2014 were white. To put that in perspective, about 3 out of every 4 characters in the 100 most successful films of 2014 were Caucasian. That number sounds absolutely ridiculous until you look at the percentage of Americans that are white. As of the 2010 Census, 72.4% of Americans were white. So, yes white people are slightly over-represented in Hollywood films, but it’s not by the absurd amount that many people would have you believe. In fact, it’s only a .7% difference (Keep in mind, this is comparing Census results of 2010 to films released in 2014). From those same sources, 12.5 percent of actors in those films were black, compared to 12.6 percent of the overall American population, 5.3% of the film characters were Asian, and 4.8% of Americans are Asian.
So, when you look at these numbers, a lot of the representation is about where it should be. However, one thing that the study of film characters does, is that it takes all of the characters on equal standing. It doesn’t just talk about the main characters. So a Chinese character with 2 lines gets the same representation as the lead White character. So while 12.5% of actors in those films might be black, that doesn’t mean that those actors had major roles in the films they were in. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that a majority of Hollywood films star white characters. If you look at the top ten films at the box office right now. One of these films stars a person of color, and that’s Boo! A Madea Halloween. One of these films is also the animated feature Trolls. The other eight star Caucasians as their lead character.
Hollywood is extremely white, but so is the United States. However, that doesn’t mean that Hollywood needs to make all of its main characters white in order to pander to the majority. People of color deserve to see a hero up on screen just like everyone else. During this modern superhero movie craze, there has yet to be a film starring a minority lead. We’ve seen minority characters in these films, such as Falcon from Captain America, Diablo and Deadshot from Suicide Squad, and Wong from Doctor Strange, but we haven’t seen any superhero films where the title character is a minority, at least, not in a long time. The last real superhero film that I remember starring a minority was 2008’s Hancock.
This is an issue that is just now starting to be addressed in Hollywood, thankfully. Next June, Wonder Woman is to be released starring Gal Gadot, who happens to be Israeli. In 2018, Marvel will release Black Panther, which will star an almost entirely black cast. Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa, who is Hawaiian, is also set for release in 2018.
Overall, it’s easy to see that Hollywood isn’t very diverse. Through statistics, it looks about the way it should be, but in reality, minorities and people of color are very much under-represented. They are usually just side characters and rarely leads. This is an issue that Hollywood looks to be starting to address. Wonder Woman is set for release on June 2, 2017, Black Panther will hit theaters July 6, 2018, and Aquaman on July 27, 2018.
So what do you think about the racial diversity in Hollywood? Would you like to see more, or do you think it should stay the way it is? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts! Thanks for stopping by!
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