Friday, March 26, 2010

Vanity Fair's All-White Women New Faces Of Hollywood Cover - Was It Racist? Survey Results Are In!

Is the cover racist? 81% of you said YES.

In addition to the great comments on the original survey post, many of you wanted to comment additionally while taking the survey, and did so under "It's complicated:"

And yes, it's complicated, but as long as people all over the world don't stop saying "it's complicated" and go on doing nothing, things with not change.

As far as I'm concerned it's discriminatory. Hollywood is about acting right? Are ALL actors young, skinny, white women? Where are the men? Where are the actors without perfect bodies? Where are the child actors? I wish there were more people of all different colors in this, yes; but more diversity of people in general. It's not so much racist as discriminatory.

I don't think it was intentional. people just don't think!

There were so many talented actresses of color who deserved to be included but weren't featured... It smacks of racism to me that they were passed over and not included despite their enormous talent.

I believe it was racist because I refuse to believe that there is no upcoming talent in young Hollywood. Seriously? No. What about the star of Precious? I'm sure there are more that I just can't think of right now

It's not that hard to find a woman of color who can sit and look pretty!

Does unintentionally leaving other skin colors out qualify as racist? I think ignorant.

Arg. Is the cover image inherently racist? No. If every photo without people of color in it is to be called "racist," we're all in trouble. However, the people at Vanity Fair choosing only white women for its cover? That, mes chers amis, smells like some racist decision-making to me. It may well have been unconscious, but that don't mean it's not racist.

Do I think that the editors of Vanity Fair should join the KKK? Of course not. Do I think that those responsible for this cover are active participants in the systemic racism which makes it so difficult for women of color to get leading lady roles in Hollywood? Without question. Hollywood's got a bad enough Missing Black Woman Formation problem without Vanity Fair deciding that no actresses of color are sufficiently up-and-coming enough for them.

The fact that they didn't consider anyone of color worthy of being "the next big thing" says something about the subtle racism in the whole industry, not just the particular people who chose the people for the cover. This is a symptom of the overall disease. (Not that that absolves the people responsible of blame--I would say their outlook is racist--but this is also bigger than them.)

My second question was: Would you need to have a quota of sorts to make a profile like this NOT racist?

The options I gave were:

Yes, diversity = representation. Break down our population by category and match it as best as you can. 26% of you agreed with that.

No, I just needed SOMEONE of color to be included. 57% of you agreed with this.

17% of you said "It wasn't racist."

Additional comments on this question were:

Re: #2, it should be a random selection, based on talent.

Your second question has bad options. I didn't need *someone* of color to be included, a token. Diversity does not equal proportional representation. With the editors of Vanity Fair needed to do was make a conscious effort to look at all of the up-and-coming actresses, not just the pretty white girls. I'll keep that magazine, perfume inserts and all, if they made any effort to find actresses of color.

(I'm not even getting into the fact that they didn't make any effort to find non-history actresses, disabled actresses, up-and-coming older actresses, etc. There's only so much we can do about Hollywood's brokenness in each kerfuffle.)

Thanks everyone for participating and for sharing YOUR thoughts with me and our community! Keep an eye out for our next survey, and if you didn't get a chance yet to have your voice heard on this, you can still take the survey!

Oh, and you can make your own swanky graphs here.


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