By NUSRAT ZEBA
October 10, 2017
“People who don’t think race is an issue in the entertainment industry need to think again. “
At some point in my life, (not too long ago) I was looking into becoming an actress. It’s something I never thought of doing before but after watching a couple films and their impact on me, I was inspired to act as a form of rebellion against oppressive systems. That was my dream, – until I started recognizing something strange that I should have already known that highly discouraged me from pursuing this goal.
The entertainment industry has a huge problem. The industry IS a problem.
I’ve seen various sites that post casting calls daily. I always check them out. I subscribed to a few and I noticed weird patterns about the people these agencies wanted to cast. In various casting calls, agencies would look specifically for Caucasians. People who don’t think race is an issue in the entertainment industry need to think again.
Those of us who already question why so many blockbuster movies or movies in general cast all-white or mostly white movies, we’re probably not surprised. Nonetheless, actually seeing casting call after casting call after casting call only seeking out Caucasians frustrated me.
Almost all the time, they would specifically seek out people of color to play the stereotypical roles that society imposed on them or just very minor roles.
What angered me, even more, was that whenever I did see a casting call looking for a minority, I would get my hopes up. I started noticing a weird pattern of what kinds of characters agencies want minorities to portray. Almost all the time, they would specifically seek out people of color to play the stereotypical roles that society imposed on them or just very minor roles.
I do not want to be a part of an industry that portrays minorities the way they do. It only upholds the systems of oppression that are targeting minorities. What good does it do for me and for my people if I am playing the role of a terrorist? Of a maid? Of a character who supports the white characters without recognizing her own worth and supporting herself? Sure I would get acting experience, sure I would be acting but why would I want that kind of experience? So I can continue to portray these types of characters? Continue to uphold an oppressive system that degrades people of color? I think not.
To make a difference in the entertainment industry, the following is what I ask from individuals:
A short note to minority actors and actresses:
DO NOT play these characters, whatever you do, DO NOT audition for these characters even if you have to act to make a living.
Other minorities are more than welcome to support you in other ways if you can’t find alternatives. Your dreams matter, I understand that but this kind of oppression can not go on. It is not worth it to portray these kinds of characters even if you profit from that.
A short note to people who want to make a difference:
Boycott against all these films. DO NOT let these agencies profit from portraying minorities in stereotypical ways.
Instead, support independent filmmakers who are actually trying to make a difference. They need your support. They are out there. Find them and seek out their films.