“You Will Be Tokenized”: Speaking Out About the State of Diversity in Publishing
Where are we going? I spoke to fifty people across the book world—from emerging and established writers to agents to editors to publicists to critics, from lit mags to MFA programs to mainstream media to small presses to the Big Five publishing houses—in an effort to feel out this answer, as well as document the lived reality of working inside a monoculture.
What It’s Really Like to Work in Hollywood* (*If you’re not a straight, white man)
The statistics are unequivocal: Women and minorities are vastly underrepresented in front of and behind the camera. Here, 27 industry players reveal the stories behind the numbers — their personal experiences of not feeling seen, heard or accepted, and how they pushed forward. In Hollywood, exclusion goes far beyond #OscarsSoWhite. (Interviews have been edited and condensed.)
It’s 2016 and it is still a struggle. I am statistically almost halfway through my life and I continue to notice whenever an Asian person shows up in pop culture. I continue to celebrate work that doesn’t continue stereotypes and I continue to hide my hurt whenever it is very clear that people of color are not wanted.
This week saw the release of The 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report by Darnell Hunt, director of the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. The results were not available at press time, but Hunt recently hinted that his latest data will reveal that the industry hasn’t improved much since his 2014 analysis, which showed that out of 172 movies and more than 1,000 television shows, about one in 10 leading roles in films went to minorities, and about one in 20 leading roles in scripted television went to people of color. This, in a county where half the population is Latino. This, in a state where Latinos have surpassed whites as the largest racial-ethnic group. This, in a nation that’s one-third nonwhite. “In L.A.,” Chris Rock said in a scathing essay published this winter in The Hollywood Reporter, “you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans.”
Minorities and their neighborhoods are here to serve Hollywood, and not vice versa.
And Latinos and Asians have sometimes been elbowed out of decent roles that were hand-built for them. The real-life Mexican-American CIA operative Tony Mendez, who’s the subject of the Academy Award–winning film Argo, was, of course, portrayed by the film’s director, Ben Affleck. Scarlett Johansson reportedly will star in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell, a Hollywood take on the Japanese anime movie. The 2014 film Chef has a man live out his dream with a Latino food truck he calls “El Jefe.” Of course, the lead is played by a white guy, Jon Favreau. Even seeing “Gary Sanchez Productions” flash on-screen as a movie gets under way turns out to be a cruel mirage. It’s the production house of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, who named it for a fictional “Paraguayan entrepreneur and financier.” #
Some other whitewashed movies – 21, The Bling Ring, A Beautiful Mind, A Mighty Heart, Drive, Cloud Atlas, The Hunger Games, Warm Bodies, World Trade Center, Exodus