In all this hoopla of the Oscars’ brazenly extreme lack of diversity, a white person was (of course) going to come out and hurl their white privilege all over everyone and boldly claim that calling attention to diversity somehow translates into racism against white people.
British actress Charlotte Rampling bluntly called the current Oscar uproar “racist to whites.”
“One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list,” Rampling said, speaking to French Radio network Europe 1 on Friday.
When she was asked if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should institute minority hiring quotas, she gave this racially tone-deaf reply: “Why classify people? These days everyone is more or less accepted ... People will always say: ‘Him, he’s less handsome’; ‘Him, he’s too black’; ‘He is too white’ ... someone will always be saying ‘You are too’ [this or that] ... But do we have to take from this that there should be lots of minorities everywhere?”
Social media immediately responded with an appropriate collective groan and massive eye-roll.
Yes Charlotte Rampling, it's about time someone spoke up for the poor privileged pompous millionaire white luvvies. #BoycottTheOscars— Will Black (@WillBlackWriter) January 22, 2016
Oh, Charlotte Rampling. If only there was some way we could help you in your struggle against the racism you must face every day.— James Moran (@jamesmoran) January 22, 2016
Charlotte Rampling exemplifies the deep & dangerous ignorance of unexamined white privilege & the false utopia it assumes to protect itself.— deray mckesson (@deray) January 22, 2016
I would love to know how many times Charlotte Rampling didn't get a role because she was "too white"— Copy McPasty, Writer (@KashannKilson) January 22, 2016
The Oscar nominee has proven herself to be brilliantly competent and skilled on the silver screen, but, unfortunately, politically and socially inept off-camera.
Rampling was initially suggesting the Oscars are somehow based on “merit,” which everyone knows is an indubitable sham given one doesn’t really get nominated over an outstanding performance. Instead, nominations are usually based on how much the Academy likes you, if you’ve been nominated so many times the Academy is practically giving it to you out of pity (ahem, Leonardo DiCaprio) or just because a film’s subject matter is extremely dramatic and controversial (not necessarily because the plot is really indicative of anything truly revolutionary).
Rampling wasn’t the only white actor to show off her severe racial blindness. British actor Michael Caine also asserted that the race card was deeply irrelevant.
"You can't vote for an actor because he's black. You can't just say, 'I'm going to vote for him. He's not very good, but he's black. I'll vote for him.' You have to give a good performance,” Caine said in an interview with BBC Radio 4.
But whether you are worthy of the prize or not, Rampling and Caine’s comments hint at much larger issue that spans outside of the Oscar hub: minorities shouldn’t be given hand-outs. The 69-year-old actress first displays her foul ignorance by stating everyone is pretty much equal. While we are living in 2016 — far past the days of slavery and de jure segregation — we are nowhere near equality between whites and minorities as income, education and employment gaps prove, so no, not everyone is starting off with the same resources and level of privilege.
Furthermore, despite these systemic obstacles, if a person of color is nominated and wins, it is suggested they are only receiving an award because of their skin tone, not because they actually deserve it. While this anti-affirmative action way of thinking is inherently regressive for society, one can’t help but pointing out how “Creed,” “Straight Outta Compton” and other black movies, roles and directors that clearly deserved recognition were left out as a huge sign of institutional racism and biases at play.
The Oscars are white — from the top to the very bottom —and that needs to spotlighted and changed so progress and real integrity can be implemented in the Oscars.