Hollywood Agents Warn Of Less Talented, 'Ethnic' Actors Stealing White Roles

Jessica Renae Buxbaum
Deadline Hollywood writes television's changing industry hurts white actors, clearly ignoring the decades-long racism of Hollywood's whiteness.

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Gone are the days where all-white shows (read "Friends") dominated the TV screen. Now we have finally entered a long overdue diversified television with shows like "Black-ish", "Empire" and "Fresh Off The Boat" actually reflecting America’s growing melting pot culture. But, of course, the privileged white industry is not all for the change as Deadline Hollywood’'s Nellie Andreeva’s astonishingly titled piece, “Pilots 2015: The Year Of Ethnic Castings – About Time Or Too Much Of Good Thing?” questions diversity as  a potentially harmful thing because now white actors receive less opportunities.

“But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. “Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.”

Andreeva indicates that this quota that needs to be met is what is damaging the television scene, and thereby creating this elite “unfairness” to white actors. Andreeva's implication of the corporate-run industry using affirmative action strategies may not exactly be totally credible, but the undeniable fact that whites have clearly dominated television since its inception definitely underscores the absolute necessity that these companies must take firm actions to boost their diversity. Calling this unfair is a purely white privilege, cry-baby complaint that an industry catering to whiteness is finally turning the tides.

Even more, Andreeva questions the talent of the minority performers chosen which further characterizes the ignorant, white privilege and blatantly racist assumption rising from this push for diversity.

“Because of the sudden flood of roles for ethnic actors after years of suppressed opportunities for them, the talent pool of experienced minority performers — especially in the younger range — is pretty limited. That has led to a feeding frenzy, with a number of straight offers locking in ethnic talent before they could be snatched by another pilot.”

First what needs to be pointed out is that this article is filled with holes as Andreeva quotes anonymous sources, so the very idea that white actors are having such a hard time now is completely unverifiable. Secondly, white actors getting a little nervous because one season of television revolved around minorities rather than white folks is harshly absurd. This is an industry that cashes in loads of money with whiteness, and the backlash towards this shift ignores the systemic racist oppression and historic inaccessibility for people of color to achieve better roles. The real issue here is not whether white people might lose out some (and they can afford to lose a little really), but how when an industry changes its perspective notable authorities (as Deadline is considered by the industry to be) react. It is apparently clear that despite the U.S. becoming ever more a racially diverse atmosphere, we remain an intolerant society.

Andreeva ends her article with this punch:

“Television has been successful with shows that had both all-white (Friends, Seinfeld) and all-black (The Cosby Show) casts on the strength of their premise, execution and talent performances and chemistry”

She seems to believe that all-white and all-black shows are equal in television’s eyes. What she seems to forget here is that hundreds of white shows have made it while one black show has — the imbalance here is uncanny.

Read more: “I’m Actually Black”: Commentator’s Naïve Assumption Reveals How We Treat Race