Traditional, Oscars

« January 2016 »


It's Martin Luther King Day, and as is You Are Dumb Dot Net tradition, I enter the word "racism" into Google News and see what comes up. But I kind of didn't have to, because the Oscar nominations came out last week. And for the second year in a row, all 20 acting nominees are white people. And white people did not, I repeat, not, appreciate people pointing this out.

The general consensus below the line that normal mortal eyes should never cross, on various entertainment sites, is that clearly, the only possible reason that no people of color were nominated last year or this is that no people of color acted good enough last year or this. Because the Oscars are a meritocracy that always make the best choices in terms of quality.

Now, I don't have to point out to any of you all of the many instances throughout Oscar history where that's not been the case, but since this is a perfect opportunity for me to shit on Best Picture Gladiator, and Best Adapted Screenplay winner Akiva "Batman And Robin" Goldsman, I'll take that opportunity. The idea of the Oscars being some kind of impartial guide to quality, unbiased and all-knowing, is a goddamned joke, and if you're a white person who thinks otherwise, well, we both know why, don't we?

But I do want to address a few specific points. The first comes from a commenter on People Magazine's website, because clearly I love you people more than I do my own sanity. "Skkeck", who for some reason has three "K"'s in his name, thought that people of color were making a fuss and trying to ruin the Oscars even though "12 Years A Slave swept the Oscars 2 years ago".

I can't touch what the Daily Show did in its segment sprinkling a little "slave sauce" on this year's critically acclaimed movies featuring people of color. But I can count. And when a film about slavery gets three awards, four fewer than the film that won the most awards (two white people trapped in space) and as many as Dallas Buyers Club, that's not "sweeping". And if you think that it is, well, we both know why, don't we?

And while I'm swimming in toxic privilege, let me explain to Debbi how racism works. Because here's how Debbi thinks racism works. "There is no dark, smoky back room filled with men - watch the women complain that I said just men! - saying 'leave black people out of the Oscars all together!'"

But see, that's the magic of racism, Debbi! It doesn't have to be a conspiracy by white people to keep black people out. It doesn't have to be signs over water fountains. It can be as simple as the people with the power to nominate being mostly white, and liking things that are mostly white, and so they nominate things that are mostly white. It can be as simple as a white person saying on the Internet that, in the absence of a smoky backroom cabal, all people are clearly treated equally.

See, that's why it needs to be pointed out when the Oscars are all white two years in a row. Because if it doesn't get pointed out, white people won't notice. Of course, when it does get pointed out, white people get defensive, which is unpleasant, but better defensive and unpleasant than oblivious. So oblivious that they didn't apparently notice giving an Oscar nomination to damn near the only white guy in all of "Creed".