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@Hollywood We know What You Are Lacking

This has been written by a concerned viewer of films. Within the entertainment business, specifically film, there has been people of color in films to show that they are not racist, that they are with the times and that they attempt to show accuracy. The attempt was added because of the hundreds of films which Caucasians take on roles of other ethnicities instead of hiring those ethnicities for the roles.  Although there has been an injustice concerning the accuracy of films, there is another part that is holding the revolution towards equality back in entertainment.  If we only look at the miniscule few that include people of color, they are rarely seen talking when the film is dominated by the Caucasian. In any big production film, it is hard to come across scenes that even include interactions of actors of color.

The roles people of color play in films have not just been noticed by critics and film advisors but is also taught in school as something that needs to change.  My senior year of high school, in my advanced creative writing course, it was revealed that some of our favorite shows and films may not be as diverse as previously believed.  In watching multiple films and TV shows as reference, we were encouraged to track the race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and wealth status of the characters.  This disclosed that not many people of color have parts that are particularly important, nor do they live through the whole program or are of the recurring cast.    

People of color are included to show that the director is not racist and not for their acting or importance in the film.  In many films, there is no more than 15 seconds of speaking done by a person of color when the entirety of the films are around two hours. In the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy, which estimates to about 11.5 hours extended editions, directed by Award winning Peter Jackson, there is 44 seconds of speaking done by a person of color.  That is less than 0.2 percent of the total film run.

I do not intend to bash all of the entertainment business.  There are films that do have portrayals and do include speaking parts, such as the Academy award winning Moonlight (2016) and Netflix series Dear White People (2017), but it is nowhere near the majority.  Not even half of the industry includes people of color when they should both want to and be obligated to. People of color need more speaking parts instead of simply being included as extras. There needs to be more accurate portrayals of society.   It should be a requirement for films with the means for it.

Dylan Marron, creator of the Every Single Word Spoken series, has highlighted many other movies where there are no given speaking parts to a person of color.  Even though they may be included in the background as filler characters, they were given no acting parts.  In the Disney film and musical, Into the Woods, there were no speaking parts given to a person of color.  In his series, he points out that it is not just films from long ago that have very racist connotations, but films that are being produced now that must be changed.  Marron reveals the truth about many popular films, such as The Fault In Our Stars, a favored romance film among young adults, has 42 seconds worth of speaking parts for one actor who was of color.

There needs to be some major changes in the way films are directed and presented.  This not only discourages many talented future actors but many others have critiqued and addressed the roles of people of color in films; they agree that equality will not be found until changes are made in the film industry.  The portrayal of people of color has a big impact on society as a whole because all eyes are on the media whether it be television, magazines or social media; therefore, how they act and what roles they have in films plays a big part in the mental and physical health of those portrayed.


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