Al Sharpton and other activists have made news in recent days by criticizing the Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences for nominating predominantly white actors for Oscar awards earlier this month. In a recent interview, however, black actor Anthony Mackie, who stars in the upcoming film Black and White, revealed that he believes there is no inherent underlying racism in the process.
Specifically, Sharpton cited the civil rights drama Selma as evidence that the Academy should have picked more minorities for consideration. Mackie countered that assertion with his own explanation for why the film was snubbed and has floundered at the box office.
“People are just tired of being bombarded with race right now,” he said.
Furthermore, he added, the competition among actors vying for an Oscar is incredibly fierce.
“If you look at all the movies and actors that are nominated,” he said, “they all gave d–n good performances.”
As for the nation in general, Mackie acknowledged that racism still exists, though he celebrated that such opinions are increasingly outdated.
“If you’re still focused on race,” he continued, “you’re a Beta machine in a world of DVDs.”
Noting a recurring theme in his new movie, Mackie explained that it is only natural for individuals to notice a person’s skin color. That alone, he concluded, does not make someone a racist.
“I don’t have a problem with you looking at me and seeing I’m a black dude,” he said, suggesting that the real test of a person’s character lies in “your thoughts that go behind that.”
While his comments received significant support, many within the black community derided his characterization of the current state of race relations in America.
Anthony Mackie Just Made The Worst Comments On Race Since Stacey Dash http://t.co/BRyAFo6ILB
— The Urban Daily (@TheUrbanDaily) January 21, 2015
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.