Oscar Awards NOT Unfair to Blacks, Says Math
For the second year in a row not a single Academy Award nominee in any of the acting categories are black. This has caused a lot of commentary and talk of boycotts. Some of it comes from the people you'd suspect like Al Sharpton and Michael Moore. Plenty of minority celebrities seem to be honestly concerned about what seems to them like a white-out.
The first thing you should do when tackling a problem is find out if an actual problem exists. IS the Academy ignoring actors of color when it comes to nominations? If you only use the past two years to judge by it would certainly seem that way. Let's look at a bigger sample...say, the past twenty years.
We're trying to determine if the Academy Awards reflect the diversity of the larger population. According to the most recent census, African-Americans make up 13.2 % of the U.S. population. This is an important number to remember. It will come back up.
In the Best Actor category, since 1995, we've had 3 African-American winners. Forest Whitaker in 2006, Jamie Foxx in 2004 and Denzel Washington in 2001.
3 divided by 20= .15 or 15%
In this category, African American winners are represented at a rate greater than the population at large. That's great...isn't it?
In the category of Best Actress, since 1995, we've had one black Academy Award winner...Halle Berry in 2001 for Monster's Ball.
1 out of 20 is 5%. Clearly, that is lower than 13.2%. If you really wanted to split hairs, I guess you could argue that since Halle Berry is mixed-race that should only count at 2.5%.
In the category of Best Supporting Actress the past 20 years have been a golden age for actors of African descent. Jennifer Hudson won in 2006, Mo'Nique in 2009, Octavia Spencer in 2011 and Lupita Nyong'o in 2013.
That's 20% of winners in the past twenty years.
The number is only 10% for Best Supporting Actor (Cuba Gooding, Jr. in 1996 and Morgan Freeman in 2004).
But, if you average the percentages of all four of the acting categories for the past twenty years you come up with the magic number of ...12.5%. 12.5% of all acting awards were won by African-Americans while the population in the United States is 13.2%.
That's .7% away from perfectly reflecting the racial diversity in the U.S. Someone would have to explain to me why this is evidence of mass racial bias. The last two years are either a statistical anomaly that will probably right itself...OR...it's evidence of a vast take-over of white supremacists in the Academy in just the past 24 months.
My guess is if you flip a coin twice and it comes up heads twice, it isn't because there is a conspiracy against tails. There's no disparity going on here. This is a non-issue.
Now, I think I'll go look up statistics on left-handed award winners just to make sure we're not off by a whole percentage point somewhere.