Is Hollywood too White?

Michael Sullivan, Author

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Over the last few years, controversy has sparked over the opinion that Hollywood has too many white actors. It usually offends people when they don’t see enough minorities in movies. There should be more minorities in movies, but in my opinion it shouldn’t be such a big deal if there aren’t any.

In 2015 and 2016, there were no black actors nominated for an Oscar. People on Twitter were furious and the hashtag, “#HollywoodSoWhite” became very popular until 2017 – when a record 6 black actors were nominated.

Inspired by that change, people these days are pushing for movies to be more diverse – and I think that’s good – but now they are just trying too hard and it’s hurting some newer movies. Look at Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which came out last year; the movie was extremely hated by many because of the inclusion of Rose – played by an Asian actress. She received multiple death threats from Star Wars fans. She was disliked since she added nothing to the movie’s plot, was an annoying overall, but not because she was of a different race. Not to mention, it seems Disney only included Rose to the movie to make The Last Jedi more diverse.

What doesn’t make sense to me, is people who act like Hollywood is purposely only casting white actors. Most movie producers don’t sit in their office scheming about how they’re not going to put any minorities in their movie, it’s mainly about who fits the role best, and money. It’s seen as a declaration of war if there are too many white people nominated for an Oscar. I don’t care about the number of minorities on the screen; the movie is the only thing that really matters to me.

Additionally, Hollywood is one of the most diverse places on the planet, and there is no evidence to conclude that they’re nominating only white actors, whitewashing, or doing anything of the sort.

Of course, whitewashing is unacceptable, but that doesn’t mean every single movie has to be diverse. Nowadays everything has to be socially acceptable, and please everyone, forcing Hollywood to cast minorities in movies just to shut people up – even if it hurts the plot.

However, sometimes it isn’t appropriate to cast roles to actors that aren’t ethnically coherent. For example, in 2013 the Lone Ranger was released; critics and moviegoers were angry that the role of Tonto – a Native American – was given to white actor Johnny Depp. People were infuriated at Hollywood for casting a white actor instead of an Indian actor, since in reality it distracted from culture of the film. They are really just trying to get more attention because Johnny Depp is famous and people like him.

It gets even worse when you hear about blackfacing; it’s exactly what it sounds like – putting makeup on a white person to make them look black. Blackfacing is understandable as a joke, like in Tropic Thunder. In the movie, Robert Downey Jr. is blackfaced to make fun of Hollywood – in a joking way. Tropic Thunder is one of the best movies I’ve seen in my life, so it gets a pass. But yeah, blackface is extremely racist.

Overall, Hollywood adding a little more diversity is a positive thing, but not the way they are going about it. I don’t think this topic is as big of an issue as it is. People act like Hollywood is so racist just because of their movies, but in reality, real life racism and violent crimes are committed elsewhere in the United States that should be dealt with, rather than taking to Twitter to complain.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some older American movies that are super racist, but it was much more of an issue about 50 years ago. Racism in Hollywood today is almost gone compared to back then.

There are some people who think that this is a big issue, but I believe that there are much bigger issues in the world. While some may think that there are races of people underrepresented in film and TV, I don’t think the priority of casting should be the color of your skin, but more importantly, who fits the role best.