Hey, Oscars judges - diversity is not a bad word
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On episode 4 of Aziz Ansari’s critically acclaimed Netflix show ‘Master of None’, main character Dev has a conversation with a TV show executive about why he is reluctant to cast two Indian actors in his new show. The executive responds by saying “If I did a show with two Indian guys on the poster, everyone’s going to think it’s an Indian show, it wouldn’t be as relatable to a large mainstream audience.” The response highlights one of the main issues with diversity in the entertainment industry: as much as we would like to think that all films and TV shows are created purely with artistic intention, the fact of the matter is they are just as profit oriented as any other industry. The Academy Awards are coming under fire for what is been called the whitest Oscars ever - for a second year in a row. Criticisms have been levelled against the voters, who have seemingly snubbed minority actors and directors. It was no surprise to find that a 2012 survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times showed that Oscar voters were nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male. The average age of the voters was 63. Kneejerk reactions on both sides have either decried the racism of the voters or insisted that the awards are based on merit so bringing race into the fray is unnecessary. To the people in the latter camp I would suggest they consider that their meritocracy does not exist in a vacuum. Racism alone is also not a good enough explanation because Hollywood is very proud of its liberal values.
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