I'm Boycotting the Oscars and Here's Why You Should, Too

Awards trophy
Awards trophy

There has recently been lots of "controversy" over the lack of diversity at the Oscars. However, when I read articles that begin that way, I often feel like they're mocking the subject. That diversity is just something that people of color complain about because we're lazy and don't want to work hard.

The truth is that people of color deserve to be recognized along with their white counterparts. The fact that they aren't included is simply insulting. But if you need five more reasons to consider boycotting the Oscars this year, I've got you covered:

1. It's the second year that all twenty contenders in the acting categories are white: I didn't understand how there were only white actors nominated last year, but the fact that it happened again is kind of crazy. Award shows are usually annoying because the people who should win sometimes don't. However, it feels like the Oscar voting body only consumes the performances of white actors.

Big assumption? Not really. According to a 2012 study by The Times, the Oscar voting body is 94% white and 77% male. Some people have said that the Oscars cannot have a diversity problem, simply because the president of the Academy is a black woman. But it's like she's the only black person (and woman) there. Other people of color or women who may be part of the voting body are sure to get their voices drowned out by the white men surrounding them.

Simply put, a lot of the voters are coming from the same place. If the voting body had different types of people who are drawn to different films and performances, maybe there would be more variety amongst nominees.

2. I'm not the only one who is angry about it: A lot of times it might seem as though a few random people of color are screaming about the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Not only is that super not true in general, but it's also not true in this situation. #OscarsSoWhite was trending on Twitter, both this year and last, because of a reason. Other people have noticed, and they're tired of hearing the same stories over and over again.

Being angry about the lack of diversity at the Oscars isn't just a "black thing," even though some people are making it out to be that way. Minorities of all sorts aren't represented in Hollywood, or at awards - actual trans people (not cis people portraying them), Native Americans, women, and other racial minorities aren't afforded the privilege of seeing themselves on screen. Why shouldn't that change?

3. Other celebrities are doing it: Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smithrecently announced that they would not be watching or attending the award ceremony, which has spurred a bunch of conversation among other people of color in Hollywood. This is actual proof that people within the industry are tired of not being recognized for their hard work.

Some people have said that Jada only cares about the lack of diversity because her husband wasn't nominated, and that accusation infuriates me. Why can't a woman of color, who is an actress in her own right, be angry about the lack of diversity in the industry that she works in? Maybe Jada is just angry because of principal. Maybe she's angry because the work of other women of color is going ignored, and has in the past. Either way, she's allowed to be angry. She's allowed to be frustrated. I am.

4. There were films by people of color that are worthy of acknowledgement: This is perhaps the biggest argument that people have when the all white Oscars are brought up. "Maybe if people of color actually did work worthy of awards, they'd be nominated!"

First of all, awards like the Oscars are given out subjectively. There's a group of voters because someone might think that Leonardo DiCaprio deserves an Oscar this year, but others think he doesn't. There are Oscar predictions from all sorts of publications starting at the beginning of the year. If people can come up with such a wide variety white people who might be worthy of nomination, people of color can certainly be included.

Let's not forget all of the amazing performances given by people of color last year, either: Idris Elba and Cary Fukunaga of "Beasts of No Nation," that cast and director of "Straight Outta Compton," Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, and Ryan Coogler of "Creed," Oscar Isaac in "Ex Machina," Benicio Del Toro's "Sicario," "Chi-Raq's" cast and director...there are so many.

You don't think any of them deserve nominations? Okay. Maybe I don't think "Mad Max: Fury Road" needed a Best Picture nom, or Christian Bale needed a Best Actor nomination for "The Big Short."

The point is that there's room for disagreement with these things, and maybe if there had been people of color in that voting pool, one of these performances could've been argued in.

5. We can make a real impact: Some people don't want to boycott because they don't think there's any point. But if people of color boycotting can definitely have an impact. For one thing, even though we represent 37% of the U.S. population, we bought 46% of all movie tickets in 2014.

That's a lot.

Usually, people don't start to listen until money is involved - and imagine how much money the film industry would lose if we stopped watching movies? Even if we ignore that, though, there's still the fact that last year's broadcast was down 16 percent from the year before. Why is that important? Well, it's a six year low. But this also came after a bunch of people made a vow not to watch the Oscars because of the lack of diversity. If we do this, we can make an impact.

Even if we don't break records, we'll still be sending a message: we are important. We matter. Our achievements and our work are not worth any less because of our skin color. We should be recognized.

After all, it is true.