A few weeks ago the nominations for the Oscars came out. There was a fair amount of concern expressed because of the 20 nominations in the acting race, for the second year in a row, there were no black actors or actresses nominated. Critics suggest, and rightly so in my opinion, that this demonstrates that there is underlying racism in the movie industry. The number of black actors that have received academy awards can be counted on easily on your fingers with fingers to spare. And the Academy Awards have been given out since 1927. Obviously there are biases out there.
I have always been shocked by racism. Why someone can be judged because their skin colour is different than mine or their heritage is different from mine has always baffled me? Aren't we all created in the same way? Who has determined that blonde hair and blue eyes are better than dark hair and brown eyes? Racism to me has always been wrong. Each person should be judged upon his or her own merits, not because they have more melanin in their skin.
I thought I was doing fairly well on this racism thing. But a Facebook posting that I saw last month challenged my beliefs. I am not a racist. But this posting said that was not enough. If I just sit passively by and let others be racist, if I am not actively fighting against racism, then racism will continue. Being a non racist is not enough. One has to be an anti racist. And how often have I sat back appalled as someone told a racist joke and I didn't tell them that I find that offensive? How often have I just sat there self righteously, thinking to myself, well at least I am more sensitive than that?. My being appalled and my self righteousness is not enough. I should have expressed my indignation verbally, so the person telling such a joke would understand that no it is not ok to tell offensive jokes that deride another person because of the colour of their skin. Being a passive non racist is not enough as it allows such behaviour to continue. One needs to fight racism actively and openly.
Games all have rules. Imagine if the Australian Open Tennis championships being played right now had no rules. I hit the ball. I say it is a good ball. You say that it is out. Without rules, and umpires, and now even computer ball tracking, we would have no way of telling who is right. But because they are regulated by these things, players can now say that the rules are fair (oh of course there are always those players who insist that the ruling is wrong). But when players begin a game of tennis, they know the rules of where they must serve in order for it to be a good ball and they also know where the ball must be returned to in order for it to be a good return. The same thing holds true for board games and card games. I know that when I pass Go in Monopoly that I will get $200 and that when I count 31 in Cribbage I get 2 points. Rules make the games fair.
In Canada, the Scarborough Mission Centre published a poster a number of years back about the Golden Rule throughout the World Religions. Each world religion has some tenet about treating others the same way we wish to be treated. From the first nations people of Canada we hear the phrase that when one person suffers, all of us suffers and that when one rejoices, all of us rejoice.
It seems obvious to me that the black actors and actresses are suffering. They are not getting fair recognition from the academy. It may be fine to say that there are only 5 nominees in each of the four categories and this year they all happen to be white. But when it consistently happens year after year, obviously there is unfairness, obviously there is bias, obviously there is dominance by one party over another. Let us all actively work to root out such biases. Being a passive bystander is not good enough. Blessings.