Yesterday evening, Mashable published an article called “The 2016 Oscar Map: Finally, a more diverse field takes shape,” claiming that because more black actors are presumably up for nomination, #OscarsSoWhite, the hashtag created by April Reign and the call for more diversity is now obsolete. Specifically, they said that they had “canceled #OscarsSoWhite,” in the piece and in a now-deleted tweet.
The author of the piece in question, Jeff Sneider, is a white man (surprise!) which not only explains the piece’s weird assumption that the institutionalized racism that pervades the Oscars is over because a handful of black people might get Oscar nominations, but also makes it that much more ridiculous. A white dude canceling #OscarsSoWhite? 2016, everyone.
It’s true that 2016 could turn out to be a particularly good year for black actors (and for Barry Jenkins, director of Moonlight) at the Oscars, but the battle is far from over. Sneider mentions in the piece that 2006 gave us the most diverse crop of Oscar nominees in history, but seems to conveniently ignore it as proof that one year of progress clearly does not lead permanent change. We’ve been through this before, and the Oscars haven’t been anywhere near diverse in the last 10 years.
On top of that, there may be more black actors up for Oscar nominations this year, but as we all (should) know, diversity isn’t black and white. Dev Patel, who is South Asian, is the only non-black actor of color up who may be a contender for his performance in Lion, potentially joining the eleven other Asian actors and actresses to have been nominated for Supporting Actor or Supporting Actress in the entire history of the Academy Awards. An Asian actor has only won Best Actor once and no Asian woman has ever won an Oscar for Best Actress.
As far as directors go, Pablo Larraín (Jackie) would be the only non-black director of color if he can snag a nomination. Only four other Latinx directors have been nominated for Best Director in Oscars history—Alfonso Cuarón won in 2013 and Alejandro González Iñárritu won in 2014 and 2015.
And where are the other Asian or Latinx folks this year? The indigenous (only two Native Americans have ever been nominated for an Oscar), the queer (11 openly gay people, 10 men, all white, have won), the disabled actors and directors? The Oscars may be a bit more black, but they’re far from diverse. So, no. There is no way we’re canceling #OscarsSoWhite.
While Sneider himself hasn’t been particularly apologetic, Mashable did take the time to edit their piece and add a note in response to the uproar, taking out the “canceled” approach and clarifying that, “The acting nominees, the central point of contention over the past two years, could be more diverse than ever before. Even so, it does not solve the ongoing problem of diversity in Hollywood, and we regret any language suggesting otherwise.”
Update: Mashable informed Fusion in an email that it has parted ways with Sneider due to the events surrounding the article.