Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Emmys symptom of racism in society

Every year when the Emmy’s, Golden Globes or any awards show draws closer, the media and the public begin discussing the race factor. By the race factor, I mean whether or not the voters will nominate and award black actors and shows or white actors and shows.
Many people hold the belief that many of these award shows are racially biased towards white actors and so-called white shows. To make matters worse, these beliefs are perpetuated every year because the majority of the nominations and wins go to white actors and ‘white shows’.
For example, the 2013 Emmys just wrapped up, and only two black people were nominated were Don Cheadle for House of Lies and Kerry Washington for Scandal. Neither of them won.
I say “black people” frequently, but the issue here really pertains to people of any racial minority. The question, however, remains the same: are nominations and awards really given to people solely based on their skin color?
The problem isn’t that award shows are being biased against people of color, but rather that they have no other option than to appear as if they are.

Anyone who has simply flipped through random channels knows that there are a lot of terrible shows out there. The same goes for film; there are numerous horrible movies produced each year.
When you combine this realization with the fact that television and film consists of mostly white actors then you understand that the nomination pool is already very small.
Actors of color are in the minority in Hollywood. They have a limited chance of being in a breakout role or a fantastic TV series. Awards shows then have to choose between being racially sensitive or doing their job, which is to nominate the best performers.
It makes perfect sense that so few actors of color are nominated and that even fewer win, because there aren’t as many actors of color in these breakout roles or outstanding dramas.
This is not to say that actors of color are inherently bad actors. Good acting doesn’t just come from an actor. It comes from great dialogue from the writer and solid stage direction from the director. It is very much a group effort.
The real question isn’t why award shows choose white actors. Rather, why do television and movie producers favor white actors to be in lead roles or to comprise a majority of their cast?
This speaks to a larger cultural issue where it seems that the nation prefers to see white actors on screen, so that’s what the media decides to produce. Whether this is true or not, one thing is for certain: people cannot be nominated and awarded for roles they don’t have.

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Emmys symptom of racism in society