Hollywood fails diversity test

Heather Voll, Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story


  When watching a tv show or movie, the thought of how diverse the cast is does not  generally cross the minds of the audience who are invested in the story. But the reality is, diversity is much more needed especially now in Hollywood.

  Whitewashing in Hollywood films is absurd. As long as the film industry has been casting movies, many companies prefer to hire a white actor instead of a person of color. In 2014, 73.1% of film actors were white, while the remaining percentages were people of color (Lauren Santhanam and Megan Crigger, PBS, Out of 30,000 Hollywood film characters, here’s how many weren’t white.)

  It could be either the company decided to turn a character that was a person of color into a white person, or have the white actor act as the race they are trying to portray.

  One of the most infamous cases of having a Caucasian actor play a character that was not their race, was in the 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, based off Truman Capote’s novel of the same name. The character was Mr. Yunioshi, the landlord of the main character, Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn. Mr. Yunioshi played by Mickey Rooney, and in the film portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi, they dressed Rooney in extremely racist and stereotypical outfits and had him act in ways that are false Asian stereotypes.

  Recently, the main issue with Hollywood and how it casts films lie more in the fact that they do not hire diverse casts as often as they should. As this problem has become much more prevalent, audiences have started to take notice when films do feature a diverse cast.

     “Whitewashing Hollywood isn’t new, it’s been a thing since the dawning age of mass media. But doesn’t mean it’s not an issue. When I’m watching tv and I don’t see anyone that represents my culture and race, it’s discouraging and very detrimental to the younger generation of ethnic children,” said Kane Jacobsen, senior, who recognizes the need for better diversity in the media.

  When a film has a diverse cast, audiences will praise the film and the crew who developed the film and likely watch future films by the same people. The recent triumphs of films like “Black Panther” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, and how they focus on the lives of people of color and their families can help people of color in society feel represented, instead of seeing another cast of 20 white people and two people of color. The success of films that have diverse casts is gauged by the audience and if they feel how well the film represents them and a similar background to theirs.

  Today, diversity is needed more than ever. To make those who feel like they never see someone who is in a similar living situation as them thrive, or make them feel like there is nothing they can not accomplish, because someone told them they could not because of their skin color. Diversity matters in all forms.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email