By: Daniel Otero
…for that matter, the world is unfair. Let’s make that perfectly clear. One thing which plagued humanity has been the consequences of prejudice and racism. How we distinctively treat our minorities is a reflection on our openness to tolerate or on the other hand, our subsequent ignorance, depending on whom we are.
Nobody said life’s prejudices were going to go away with tolerance and political correctness; especially for those whom are not able to open their hearts and minds to other ethnicities, ages or social backgrounds.
Throughout the history of the United States, millions of newcomers faced such challenges. America was and has been called the ‘melting pot of the world’. Accepting everybody, but one problem has remained perfectly clear and growing, the gap of inequality between actual reality and practice. How we continue to badly treat our African-American population or people of other backgrounds which don’t fit into the stereotypical Caucasian mould says plenty of our behavior as a population.
Days before, on the eve of Martin Luther King’s birthday (February, 18th), a slew of criticism was directed at the Academy Awards. Lacking in diversity [again] on the nominations for the second consecutive year!
Movies like “Beast of no Nation”, “Concussion” where British-Africans and African-Americans were simply left out. Or the talented Michael B. Jordan was snubbed out of a nomination in “Creed”!
We can justify it all we want! Telling others, oh but African-Americans are getting more opportunities than ever. In truth the latter sentence is a fallacy of an industry that has excluded African-Americans, Asians and Latinos for decades. Yes, giving them only roles to fit neatly into negative stereotypes, as in: gangsters or other less than glamorous portrayals against overwhelming odds of ignorance and poverty.
Still, racism has been showing its ugly face for these past 24 months during the Oscar nominations.
Hollywood can deny and say, “Oops, we didn’t mean too!” One year it can be a mistake, but honestly, two! There’s more to it than meets the eye…
That’s the other hypocrisy of the movie industry, not creating enough opportunities to show an equal representation of society. But a business only interested in showing negativity about certain groups. Taking from the color of a person’s skin to their ethnicity or gender; yes Hollywood, racism is alive and well in the business. From those whom hate the gene pool of multicultural, biracial to misogynist. There’s not an equal measure for all, even in our hypocritically correct world.
You see, the tone and jokes have become less racist and in truth, the movie moguls are only interested in showing America’s ‘Waspish’ side. This is America, and the rest, [well now] they are from somewhere else or just visiting! The world has progressed and still people hold back well deserved achievements with their invisible bigotry.
How long has it taken for American’s to begin to accept shows like “Blackish”, “Fresh off the Boat” or “Dr. Ken” for that matter. What? It has been fifty or sixty years since the days of “I love Lucy” (actress, Lucille Ball), when the controversy surrounding her was abound with “Oh my God, look at the former ‘B’ movie starlet with the Latin devil!” (Her former husband was Cuban bandleader, Desi Arnaz, of course.)
One might think the days of slanderous jokes against a person are over. But still, you have an industry with the mentality and belief system as if they are still watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” back in 1961, but it’s 2016. It comes from people’s attitudes, what they are or aren’t willing to accept.
Lack of experience, exposure and no comprehension of other cultures cause these problems. In other words, America and Americans are still carrying 1950s old world attitudes.
There is no denying, “We come a long way baby!” But people are still judged by their background, skin, sex and not the quality of their humanity. Beyond the person’s sex or skin color. It’s deeper than one can imagine. It’s easy to fall into these perceptions when people are not exposed to other cultures, even in America or abroad.
To give a quick example, I’m from Brooklyn, New York, right! I’m proud of the fact that I got out of my neighborhood and this street kid rose to be and do something with his life.
And people who know me personally are prone to be idiotic and make stupid stereotypes sometimes, like, “Ah, Daniel, didn’t you grow-up amongst the street gangs, between the ‘Crips and Bloods’?”
My quick answer was, “First of all, ‘Crips and Bloods’ are a Los Angeles phenomenon! I’m from New York.”
Now, they make these stereotypes because of my background and without knowing better. Imagine if you’re British-African or African-American and have to deal with this kind of crap all the time, even after you have successfully made something of yourself! It’s exhausting to say the least…