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A rare behind-the-curtain look at acting that's less glam and more racist

Underrepresented actors often have been complicit in creating ethnic stereotypes in the media. For my own part, I rented out my Asian face to Jerry Lewis back in the day.Now we're not only speaking out, but creating, writing, and portraying who we are — as we are — in our great, dazzling diversity. As we contribute our authentic selves, the comedy becomes specific and real, the drama is distinctive and identifiable, and our society grows enriched and involving. Hollywood and the media now have the opportunity to actively engage with the talented diversity that comprises our entire society. But is it "to be or not to be? That is the question." — George Takei

A rare behind-the-curtain look at acting that's less glam and more racist
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Hollywood has a huge imagination.

In the last decade and a half, we've had:

Billionaire superheroes.


Hot elves.

George Clooney in space.

But for some reason, there's one thing that Hollywood still has a truly, deeply, inexplicably hard time imagining.

Complex, three-dimensional characters of color. Yes, indeed. The entertainment industry has a diversity problem.

Sure, there are more people of color in film and television today than there were for the better part of the last century, but it's far from reflective of our national diversity.

And when casting directors do hire people of color, what they seem to want is more a caricature of reality than reality itself.

When they say things like, "We're looking for a specific type" or "Think more 'urban,'" what they really mean is ...

Casting discrimination isn't just a symbolic problem, it's a practical one.

A 2014 UCLA study found that TV shows with diverse casts draw higher-than-average ratings. The same study found that "films with relatively diverse casts excelled at the box office and in return on investment." In spite of that, white actors are favored in almost 70% of casting calls.

One of the actors in this video had this to say:

"I oftentimes feel like, well, am I being racially paranoid, or is it in my head? But when you look at the numbers, not all artists of color can be crazy, you know? We're genuinely fighting the entertainment industry that seems very obsessed with telling Euro-centric stories and refuses to let go of it."

Film and television aren't made for casting directors or critics or even the actors themselves.

They're made for consumers.

That's us, people.

And we're already voting with our feet. And our eyeballs.

More than 10 million people tuned in to the winter premiere of "Scandal," starring Kerry Washington as a public relations guru with a complicated past.

The series premiere of "How to Get Away with Murder," starring Viola Davis as a hard-charging attorney, attracted an unbelievable 20.3 million viewers.

"Empire," starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson as warring music industry moguls, just set a record for the most consecutive ratings gains in all of television history.

Real diversity isn't just some fantasy, bleeding-heart, we-are-the-world ideal. It's a proven moneymaker.

And while Hollywood might finally be waking up, we can help them wake up faster by tuning in to shows with characters of color who are treated with respect and represented as real people, not cartoons.

As consumers, we have choices and voices we can use to stop the stereotypes. So let's keep on using 'em, shall we? — Team Upworthy

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

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Pete Buttigieg is having a moment. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana keeps trending on social media for his incredibly eloquent explanations of issues—so much so that L.A. Times columnist Mary McNamara has dubbed him "Slayer Pete," who excels in "the five-minute, remote-feed evisceration." From his old-but-newly-viral explanation of late-term abortion to his calm calling out of Mike Pence's hypocrisy, Buttigieg is making a name for himself as Biden's "secret weapon" and "rhetorical assassin."

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