That’s not diversity

from The Birth of a Nation.

from The Birth of a Nation.

In an article on Huffington Post the author Matthew Jacobs asserts “The Sundance Film Festival just provided an early remedy for the lack of diversity next year’s Oscar race could inevitably face. After four days of rave reviews for the pale casts in “Manchester by the Sea” and other movies, “The Birth of a Nation” earned three standing ovations at Monday’s premiere — one before it even started, one that lasted throughout almost the entire end credits and another when director/writer/star Nate Parker took the stage immediately afterward.”

Movies about slavery or gangs don’t seem like diversity to me. Diversity is having people in the story who happen to be whatever their race is. When a movie is about black slavery it doesn’t seem optional to have non black people in those roles. Movies about black people have to have black people.

Now look at a show like The Wire. There are people in the show portraying characters who must be black, or white. And then there’s Detective Shakima “Kima” Greggs, played by Sonja Sohn.

from The Wire

from The Wire

She’s the woman pictured here. In the whole series I think her racial background is talked about once, and it seems completely incidental to the story. That’s diversity. There are other examples out there. Just about every Star Trek TV series had at least some diversity – again meaning people were not cast to play roles that must be played by certain races. The movie The Matrix had racial diversity that didn’t seem to have any underlying meaning or significance.

The point in mentioning shows and movies with diversity is not to say there’s plenty. Arguably there isn’t. The point is it’s possible, and rather than detract from the story it adds more dimension to it.

Before we can have the discussion about diversity in Hollywood, it’s important we all actually understand what diversity is.


developer, writer, speaker

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