Mark Ruffalo is no stranger to the kinds of systemic racism that plagues us unknowingly, sometimes subconsciously. I mean, he’s famously played the hulk; A professional white guy who when provoked turns into a rampaging man of color who the cops hate and are constantly shooting at. So he should know the subtle, subliminal racism that occurs in Hollywood. He welcomed the discussion in a sit down BBC interview where he talked about his nominated role in “Spotlight” and his plans on attending the all white Academy Awards.
“It isn’t just the Academy Awards,” Ruffalo divulged, “the entire American system is rife with the kind of white-privilege racism that goes into our justice system.”
This year’s Oscars have been famously centered in the idea of a boycott to show support for the unsupported actors and filmmakers of color who went wildly un recognized in the nominations. The red carpet event is already not expecting to see actors and filmmakers of color (namely black actors and filmmakers) such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, and “Chi-Raq” director Spike Lee. Their boycott was met with articles such as “Jada Pinkett Smith Slammed For Oscar Boycott” and being called “Miss Thing.” And now when white actor Mark Ruffalo speaks out on this very same issue, he is met with articles stating “This is why we love Mark Ruffalo”.
Black creatives in Hollywood need support from white allies. It’s seems like a wildly outdated prospect to need “white allies” but the fact of the matter is, until Hollywood supports and celebrates actors of color in films where they are struggling over LITERALLY ANYTHING that isn’t racism, slavery, gangs, prison, or being adopted by Sandra Bullock, then the system is still fueled by racism and white guilt, dehumanizing all actors, filmmakers, and stories centering around non-whites.
Mark Ruffalo said in the interview, “If you look at Martin Luther King’s legacy, what he was saying is the good people who don’t act are much worse than the wrongdoers who are purposely not acting and don’t know the right way.” Which is fantastic. He’s correct in trying to take an action and he is fully appreciated for speaking out. But the fact that the media praises him as a white savior and marginalizes Jada as yet another angry black woman stereotype shows that progress we may think we are making could actually be very hollow. What’s worse, is that Mark is still going to attend the Oscars. Granted, (as explained in a tweet) he is going in support of victims of clergy abuse and good journalism. So if any more whites want to speak about this boycott and then continue to not boycott, how about you make the gesture significantly less hollow by using your acceptance speech to speak on behalf of the still voiceless minority that is non-white-Hollywood.