Following Sunday’s Golden Globe Award Ceremony, the internet rejoiced in Oscar Award Winning Actress Meryl Streep’s acceptance speech. In her speech, Streep formally distances herself from President Elect Donald Trump and his lack of empathy. She alluded to his very public request for President Obama’s birth certificate and referenced his mocking of a disabled reporter—citing these behaviors as misused privilege. Streep’s tirade seems a proper use of platform, yet suggests that white supremacy is something only Trump suffers from and not an all encompassing problem that plagues every aspect of American life.
Perhaps the most misleading component of Meryl Streep’s speech was the implication that Hollywood is any less racist than Donald Trump. It was individuals much like Donald Trump who started Hollywood and cast the first black roles to white men with painted faces. It was Hollywood who launched and popularized films like the original Birth of A Nation—caricaturing blacks to stereotypes that still plague our identity. Steep’s depiction of Hollywood as the epitome of freedom and creativity, demonstrates that Streep’s memory, like most of the majority, is selective. Streep selectivity becomes conspicuous when she references Viola Davis in her list of “immigrants”— linking actor Ryan Gosling’s journey from Canada to America to the journey through the Middle Passage endured by Davis’ ancestors. See if we talk about Hollywood as a place of unity and diversity, it becomes easy to forget that although cast in an Award Winning Film, Hattie McDaniels had to enter the facility through the back door. Hollywood is Donald Trump and personifies white supremacy even in “diversity.” In fact, every face in Hollywood’s trajectory functioned depict whiteness as superior. From Stepin’ Fethit, Hattie McDaniels, Carmen, to Long Duck Dong, every face of color in Hollywood personifies inferior roles that the marginalized must occupy to foster white supremacy.
Ironically, during Streep’s listing of Hollywood immigrants, the camera shifts to actress Gina Davis who plays Jane the Virgin on CW. While Jane the Virgin is a charming array of actors and actresses who work well together, the show is a white woman’s adaptation of a Venezuelan Tele-nova. Thus, while the show’s popularity does display racial diversity in casting Hispanic actors, the actors function to veil a white woman’s mockery of non-western entertainment. So while Streep reprimands Trump for his “mockery” she conveniently overlooks the mockery Hollywood performs regularly for profit.
Streep symbolizes the oxymoron “white liberal” or a member of the majority that overtly bashes systems that foster their lifestyle. They do so to seemingly align with the majority, but operate with the necessary strategy to ensure their privilege remains stagnant. Denouncing Donald Trump after supporting Hillary Clinton paints Streep as a member of the majority that condones racism and other forms of oppression as long as its done discreetly. This illustrates Streep as perhaps the worst form of racist in thinking that she isn’t one. All in all, it is easy to forget that Meryl Streep is an actress. Furthermore, for acting as if Hollywood is not racist, I commend Mrs. Streep for yet another job well done.