#OscarSoWhite: Racism Isn’t Always Black and White

In light of everything going on with the award show, it’s been refreshing to finally see the light shed on Asian Americans, so thank you Chris Rock for your poor ignorant Asian joke. Leading up the Oscars there seem to only be ‘buzz’ on the fact that there were no African Americans nominated for awards but the public failed to acknowledge the fact that there were no Asian, Latinos and Native American representation as well.

It’s quite interesting to see how automatically because there were no African American representation it is labeled as “racism,” however, for years there have been very limited representation from other minority groups. Only 1 out of 20 speaking roles go to Asian Americans in Hollywood, and only 1% of lead roles go to Asian Americans. 14% of lead roles go to African Americans and 3% of lead roles go to Latinos and the rest go to the ones that dominate the industry. Even Asian specific roles go to white men and women in Hollywood.

However, why are African Americans more superior amongst other minority groups? The rest of us don’t get representation either, heck, we don’t even have our own ‘BET’ awards. Although, we are all minorities there are still subdivisions of superiority even amongst other minority groups. But why is that so?

Within the Asian American community we are often labeled as “submissive” however, this has a lot to due with our culture and our emphasis on respect. We often “accept” racism- the stereotypical jokes because it is often a “racist compliment.” Stereotypes such as “oh you’re so good at math,” “you’re so smart,” aren’t necessarily bad things to say but are still stereotypes nonetheless. A race does not decide your intelligence and whether or not you excel in a subject. But why don’t we speak up? Why don’t we take a stand and tell others that it’s wrong?

A lot of it has to due with our culture. Many of us have been raised to not speak up even if you disagree. Personally, I know my mom hates it when I cause trouble even though she knows that what is being said is in the wrong. She would much rather me to be quiet and talk behind their backs than stand up directly to that person. But the fact that we as Asian Americans don’t have a voice when racial issues occur is because we don’t have anyone to look up to.

When you hear “African American Rights” you automatically think of Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X…etc. However, there are no pioneers when it comes to Asian American Rights. There has not been a role model to encourage others to speak up, simply because we were raised to think speaking up its wrong and disrespectful.

However, putting down one group is racism, just because it is a “compliment” does not make it ok. We, as Asian Americans need more representation, we need people to stand up, we need people to speak up. Asians, Latinos and Native Americans endure racism too. Racism is not always black and white, literally.

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