This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Diverse Majority: Hollywood And Politics

Like many people, I got up early on election day.  I waited in line to cast my ballot for a most historic election.  By the end of the night, I was tired but elated and moved by the events that had unfolded before my eyes.  

A few days ago, I called my grandmother to get her take on the election.  She'd voted for McCain, but in the same breath, she explained that she didn't feel as confident about her McCain vote.  Still a conservative, she didn't think McCain wanted it as badly.  Still a conservative, she acknowledged that one has to be a little bit liberal to get things done.

My grandmother was born two years before women were given the right to vote.  She grew up in a world where a womans' future was in the home.  She grew up in a world where African-Americans were maids or drivers and minstrel shows were as common as vaudeville.  She spent time in Alabama where they had an African-American maid that pressed and starched my grandfather's dress shirts for a paltry 25 cents.  When my grandparents moved back to Nebraska, my grandmother asked the woman to join them up North.  She responded that she couldn't.  She'd said that they're prejudice in the South and just as prejudice in the North, but they hide it." She'd rather live in the South than in a place where [she felt] people tried to hide their feelings toward her and her race. 

This was a year of change--not only in politics but in Hollywood.  The real America has begun to emerge.  This is no longer a country of a white majority, but a patchwork quilt of the fair-skinned, the dark-skinned, Native Americans, Latinos, Chinese, Gay and Lesbians, and a list of people too diverse to mention here.  They are no longer "minorities."  
Together, we are all a diverse majority.  

With success of shows such as Ugly Betty, The George Lopez Show, Grey's Anatomy, and others, Hollywood casting sought out diversity.  More and more, it's no longer about casting the "token" African-American or Asian.  Characters are cast in diverse ways because that's what the make-up of our reality in America has become.  There are more female writers--four of whom were nominated in screenwriting categories at last year's Academy Awards (Sarah Polley, Tamara Jenkins, Diablo Cody, and Nancy Oliver)

The white men who have traditionally written the stories for Hollywood now have to rewrite their own futures.  The white men who have traditionally made the rules in government have to make room for others who have a voice, too.  The seas of change are not to be feared, but embraced, for we all become better because of it.  

Hollywood and Politics have just begun to realize what those who have been paying attention have known all along.  Diversity is not a threat or a detriment to our lifestyle as a people, but something to uphold--something that sets the United States of America apart from many other nations around the world.  We are people living in an increasingly global world.

Photo by racole/flickr
(c) Copyright 2008 KLiedle


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