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Delving into the problems of race in the film industry

Our New York readers may have been following the recent backlash in Hollywood following the announcement of the Academy Award nominees. Among the 20 slots dedicated for actors and actresses, no minority candidates were nominated this year.

This may be disturbing to many people, especially when they consider the fact that the same thing happened last year, when not one minority was nominated among the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor or Best Supporting Actress categories. It has even led some stars, including Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Jones, to boycott the Oscars.

While it has been argued by some in the industry that it is possible that academy voters simply felt there were no minorities worthy of a nomination, it fails to recognize a deeper problem that minorities may be under-represented in the entire industry, and that what many perceive to be snubs over the last two years are actually part of this larger problem.

In the United States, we have various federal and state protections against workplace discrimination. Workplace discrimination can take many forms, including but not limited to race discrimination, gender discrimination, age discrimination and discrimination on the basis of a person's sexual orientation.

It is important for employees or those seeking work to understand their rights and protections to prevent workplace discrimination. If workers feel they were not hired, not promoted, not given fair or equal work or job growth or were fired on the grounds of discrimination, workers may need to get more information about protecting their rights. Discrimination will likely continue to be a problem unless it is addressed.

Source: New York Times, "The Oscars and Hollywood's Race Problem," Roxane Gay, Jan. 22, 2016

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