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Oscars racial divide is unnecessary

We are one month into 2016 and we already have a huge racial controversy on our hands. After the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were revealed, people began to complain about the lack of diversity among the nominees for the second year in a row, leading to boycotts by well known African-American celebrities like Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

There is undoubtedly an issue when almost every nominee is white. However, many believe it has been completely blown out of proportion. People should be nominated and win for displaying the most talent and not for being a certain race.

The years of 2015 and 2016 have lacked diversity in terms of nominations. But let’s not forget that as recently as 2014, Steve McQueen won a best picture award, and was also nominated for best director. Chiwetel Ejiofor was nominated for best actor. Barkhad Abdi was nominated for best supporting actor. Lupita Nyong’o took home best supporting actress.

Perhaps African-American actors just didn’t do enough to get nominated this year. It seems harsh to say that, but it seems as though some African-Americans think that people of color should get nominated automatically just for being a minority.

Isn’t that a poor message to send to young African-Americans that they should get special treatment because of the color of their skin instead of solely on their talent?

No one wants to turn something as superficial as the Academy Awards into a race war, at least I hope that isn’t the case. Yet, recently I have heard whites counter with the argument that you don’t see white people being nominated for The BET awards, yet there is no public outcry to diversify them, turning this controversy into a game of tit for tat.

Furthermore, the lack of diversity in the Oscars should not be just about African-Americans. No one seems to comment in the media about the lack of Latino, Asian, Native American, or even homosexual people being recognized until African-Americans bring up their own lack of nominations.

Palomar students weighed in on the lack of diversity this year. A student named Sean said “Yeah, I can see how they have a problem with that.” He added that he doesn’t “necessarily think it’s that big of an issue.”

When asked if there needed to be more diversity Andrew Nehl said “yes and no… we definitely need more. But not just for blacks, maybe two Asians have gotten Oscars, I don’t see any Native Americans who have gotten Oscars, not many Latinos as well.”

When it comes down to it there certainly is a lack of racial diversity in this year’s Oscars. However, the real issue is that this is becoming another racial divide between whites and blacks rather than an actual call for a change in diversity.

It is time we all forget about race entirely. There should be no special treatment for African-Americans, or even whites for that matter. There should be no quota to meet for the Academy to nominate a certain amount of people from certain races.

The best actor/actress/director/whatever should win regardless of race, and nominees who don’t take home the statue should be satisfied with the fact that they were recognized as some of the best that year regardless of their race.


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