Ruby van Hamersveld- Hollywood lacks ethnic diversity

It has become apparent that Caucasian actors and actresses are dominating the film industry at present. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has admitted that there is a distinct lack of ethnic diversity in its voting requirements.

The four categories of best actor and actress, along with best supporting actor and actress, have traditionally neglected certain ethnic groups. This type of unequal representation in Hollywood is both problematic and systematic (

Although there is an apparent lack of opportunities for leading/speaking roles for ethnic minorities, it is evident that many roles could be played by a coloured actor or actress e.g. The Lone Ranger. Set in the 1890’s with the Americans feuding with the Native Americans, Johnny Depp (a well –renowned star) depicts a Native American who is sentenced to jail for being ‘Indian’. This role in the movie could have been played by a Native American actor.

The desire for Hollywood Studios is to make top grossing money from their movies. It is hard to sell a film without a high-profile actor playing a leading role and the need to sell tickets and make money far outweighs the desire to be culturally sensitive.

If Hollywood changes its ways and becomes more accepting of ethnic minorities then more opportunities may arise for coloured actors and actresses to be featured in a film or TV show. Having diversity in films and TV provides variety which may lead to an increase in public interest, and will entertain everyone.

If people are serious about changing the racial discrimination in the film industry, then maybe it’s time to not only to speak out, but to move out and boycott non-ethnically diverse films, TV and award shows. It’s a new year Hollywood, it’s time for change.



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