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Letter: More diversity is needed in the Academy Awards

More diversity is needed in the Academy Awards

Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are boycotting the Academy Awards because of the refusal to recognize the enormous talent shown by her husband, Will Smith, in the movie “Concussion,” and other African-Americans.

At this time of year, when we remember Martin Luther King’s speech, “I Have a Dream,” it is disheartening to realize that in the 47 years since his death, we have not evolved toward a more civilized treatment of all people and races.

The Academy’s 5,765 voting members have chosen, for the second year in a row, to (as the hash tag reads), be “Oscars So White.” The membership is comprised 77 percent males, 2 percent black, less than 2 percent Latino and 94 percent white. The median age is 62.

If computers were able to gauge the emotional effect, acting ability and visual effect of movies on humans, then I suppose that would be a measure we could all accept. Unfortunately, until that time comes, we will have to rely on subjective, biased opinions from those claiming to know something about filmmaking.

We do not, however, have to accept the outcome of these awards as relevant unless they come from a more diversified group. If they are to be taken seriously, they will have to reconsider their population.

Smith wants to hit them in the pocketbook. I’m sure more will follow her boycott. But the real question is: Will that be enough? Sure, redirecting your resources back into the black community is some kind of a plan, but what exactly is she saying? Black isolationism imposed upon themselves? Sounds like segregation all over again.

I say, we must not tolerate a regression to nowhere. If there is a correction to be made, let’s make it, so that all can be confident of a fair outcome, from a diversified group.

Gloria Masters

Buffalo