Racism in Hollywood and how it connects to Gettysburg College
By Jenna Seyer, Staff Writer
“Black people did not protest. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. Too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer.”
“It’s going to be a little different this year…it’s going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies.”
“We want opportunity. We want black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. And, not just once.”
“Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. It’s the kind of racist we’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, ‘we like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’”
The quotes above are from Chris Rock’s Opening Speech at the 88th Academy Awards.
And that’s exactly what the problem truly is: an ever-present racism of constantly changing forms that we’ve wrongly grown used to. What Chris Rock was able to make clear was the undeniable presence of racism in society which has taken an altered shape of the past. Instead of burning metal into an individual’s skin, whipping people for no reason other than the color of their skin and refusing individuals of color equal, human rights, we now breed a different kind of racism. Today, we find that our social institutions, be they universities, police academies or the political sector, practice the same deeply-rooted, racist ideology—just more subtle than in 1960. It’s hard to imagine, through what our country has experienced, that racism still exists: Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, a minority of police officers targeting people of color in arrests and even a “Ghetto Fabulous” mixer on our own college campus with an encompassing mistreatment of students of color—both inside and outside of the classroom.
The mention of Hollywood as “sorority racist” is similar to the racial climate of Gettysburg College, the sometimes exclusionary nature of our student body. Students of color should not have to worry whether our college is a safe environment, whether they are represented in the curriculum, whether they are treated the same as white students on campus. Students of races at Gettysburg College should be given the same opportunities, the same treatment and the same privileges—as Rock explains with Oscar nominees and actors in Hollywood.
Although efforts are finally being made toward improving that culture on campus, there still remains a long way before we are able to dispel this epidemic at its root. Change must be implemented in order to continue the struggle against racism. This collective purpose to better the way we treat others, as the Black Student Union elaborated on at the Town Hall meeting, includes educating people about racism, its effects and its history, promoting the cause itself and fighting against any organization which attempts to inhibit the progress made.