June 27, 2020

GUEST ROOM | Hollywood, Brutality and Black Lives Matter

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This petition seeks to address the exclusion of Black people in key scenes behind the media which reinforces systematic racism among police and the nation as a whole. The United States has had a rash of police killings of Black people. Part of the reason police kill Black people is because they stereotype all Black people as thugs. This is how the media represents us. Not just news media, but within film and television as well. A big part of this problem is behind the scenes, Hollywood is almost all white. The executives, agents, talent managers, screenwriters, directors and producers are almost all white. If there were more Black people behind the scenes in Hollywood, we could get truthful and accurate representation of Black people and Black issues. Hollywood is claiming Black lives matter. Then it’s time for them to hire Black people in these behind-the-scenes jobs and move away from stereotypical portrayals of Black people. Elected officials in California and New York should be a part of this as Los Angeles and New York City are the nations media capitals.

While the media has misrepresented us as thugs, our people are dying, and not just at the hands of the police. Because Black people are severely underrepresented in private sector jobs with good health insurance and due to systematic racism in the healthcare system, we’re in poor health to begin with. So Covid-19 kills us in greater numbers. Thus, to companies claiming Black Lives Matter, end the social exclusion of Black people. Bring us to the table. Hire us! Please help us fight for equality.

We need justice. The Hollywood unions are members of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization and can demand the expulsion of the police union for constantly defending police when they kill.

Justin Samuels ’10 is a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences. Comments can be sent to opinion@cornellsun.com. Guest Room runs periodically throughout the summer.