As the diversity debate embroiling the Academy Awards continues, Michael Caine is the latest star to speak out – and he’s not holding back. For the second year in a row, no actors of color received Oscar nominations, a reality that has prompted some stars to boycott the show and examine the deeper issues surrounding race and the entertainment industry.
When asked to address the controversy during a BBC Radio 4 interview this week, Caine said, per The Hollywood Reporter: “There’s loads of black actors. You can’t vote for an actor because he’s black. You got to give a good performance, and I’m sure there were very good [performances].”
Caine’s comments come around the same time current Best Actress Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling raised eyebrows for telling French Radio network Europe 1 on Friday morning that the Oscars are “racist to whites” and speaking out against the possibility of a quota system to ensure [racial] diversity. Her comments stand in contrast to other actors who have spoken out, including fellow nominee Mark Ruffalo, past winner George Clooney and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Grammys host LL Cool J has also added his voice to the debate. Speaking to the Associated Press Thursday after receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he said his advice to fellow African America actors is, “Don’t get bitter, get better.” “Is there room for improvement? Yes,” he said. “But let’s just put the work in. And ultimately, if the work is good enough, and it’s great enough and there’s enough of it, the door gets kicked in.”
On the issue of race quotas the philosopher Ayn Rand had this to say almost a half century ago:
Instead of fighting against racial discrimination, they are demanding that racial discrimination be legalized and enforced. Instead of fighting against racism, they are demanding the establishment of racial quotas. Instead of fighting for “color-blindness” in social and economic issues, they are proclaiming that “color-blindness” is evil and that “color” should be made a primary consideration. Instead of fighting for equal rights, they are demanding special race privileges.
They are demanding that racial quotas be established in regard to employment and that jobs be distributed on a racial basis, in proportion to the percentage of a given race among the local population. For instance, since Negroes constitute 25 percent of the population of New York City, they demand 25 percent of the jobs in a given establishment.
Racial quotas have been one of the worst evils of racist regimes. There were racial quotas in the universities of Czarist Russia, in the population of Russia’s major cities, etc. One of the accusations against the racists in this country is that some schools practice a secret system of racial quotas. It was regarded as a victory for justice when employment questionnaires ceased to inquire about an applicant’s race or religion.
Today, it is not an oppressor, but an oppressed minority group that is demanding the establishment of racial quotas. (!)
The call for “diversity” — racial quotas — in awards based on the color of ones’ skin is racist. The only thing that should matter is the performance. Imagine if such a standard were applied to the NBA? Would that be justice?