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THE RACIST LIE I TELL MYSELF AS A WHITE ACTOR

This blog post is a companion piece for a podcast episode I did a few months ago with the same name. You can find it here.


A while back I saw a post on Instagram basically saying that white actors need to stop complaining about losing roles to minority actors by saying stuff like, “oh, they didn’t cast me because they decided to ‘go diverse’ with the role” or “oh, man, it’s so hard book work as a white actor because Hollywood wants to be diverse.” These are lies, we know they are lies, and if you don’t believe me, just go turn on your TV and start counting.


That post is related to a racist thought that I know I’ve had sometimes when I see who was ultimately cast in a role I auditioned for. Often times I’ll think, “Oh, this is that commercial I auditioned for, let’s see who they cast. Oh, they decided to go with a Black woman. Well, I mean, they should. That’s great.”


Now, on the surface, maybe you’re thinking, “Amy, that’s not racist. You’re not complaining. You’re applauding diversity, inclusion, and representation. You’re so woke, give yourself an ally cookie.”


No.


Because the problem with that thought is what’s behind it. Even though I am applauding diversity, inclusion, and representation, the thought still implicitly assumes that the thought process in casting went RACE, and then talent - and that is not okay. That’s racist. It is racist to assume that an actor’s race is the main reason they were chosen for a role, instead of their talent.


Okay, so I have this racist thought and I don’t want it anymore. What do I do about it? I’m looking at it and asking why. I think asking WHY will go a long way in combating it within me because it will help me understand it, re-program it, and unlearn it.


So, WHY do I think this racist thought? I’ve uncovered two reasons:


First and foremost, this thought is born out of white supremacist culture which permeates our society and in this example makes me unconsciously believe that Black people are less talented or qualified, in general, than white people, and if a Black person is chosen for something instead of a white person, then it was just because of a desire for diversity. To deal with this I have to keep calling out this and other racist lies that I’ve been fed by white supremacy.