Steve McQueen on white-washed Hollywood. (via afrolens)
When asked to explain why he thinks there are so few Black people or other minorities in film, McQueen replied, “Ask them,” referring to his fellow nominees on the round table, fellow directors, all of them White men.
One of them pipes up, “Not stepping into that one!” No, please— step in! Don’t disavow yourself of any responsibility; don’t disown the situation. Not when every casting decision you make has the power to change. [Reminds me of the Best Actor roundtable Newsweek did in which Viola Davis touches on the difficulty Black actors have in Hollywood— Same story, different year.]
Ugh, first attempting to deny sexism by name-checking a few women directors (and good job from the interviewer pointing out why that’s bullshit), and then that awkward silence when McQueen says, “Ask them.” As if these directors aren’t exactly the problem. Jason Reitman—the director who explicitly says, “Not stepping into that”—has never made a film featuring a Black actor in a major role.
And the other directors muttering, “I don’t know [why I’ve never cast a Black or Latino actor in a major role]”—are you kidding me? You don’t know? These are meticulous filmmakers. Ask them anything about any decision they’ve made in regards to their subject matter, casting choices, how they set up shots, the fucking colour palette, etc., and these people can rant for half-an-hour. But why do Black people not exist in the realities you create with your films? “Oh, I don’t know.”
“I’m a racist” doesn’t roll off the tongue real well.
Neither does, “I’m not racist but I’m pretty confident my fan base is.”