Hollywood is still failing to accurately represent real-life American society, according to a study of the 100 biggest-grossing films of last year.
The University of Southern California’s Annenberg school found that the make-believe world of movies generally does not reflect the country’s ethnic diversity.
About 74 per cent of actors were white, compared with a population that’s 63 per cent non-Hispanic white in the United States.
Hispanics, who make up 17 per cent of the population, accounted for only 4.9 per cent of film roles, making them the most under-represented group on screen. Yet they account for about 25 per cent of tickets sales and are more likely than any other group to go to the cinema.
African-American characters represented about 14 per cent of all film roles, comparable to the 13 per cent black population, but 17 per cent of the films did not have a single speaking role for African Americans and they were under-represented in half of the films.
Asians filled 4.4 per cent of roles, compared with 5.3 per cent of the US population, 1 per cent were played by Middle Eastern actors, less than 1 per cent by Native Americans and 1 per cent by others.
There has been no significant change since 2007 in the number of non-white actors in top films in Hollywood, said Stacy L Smith, the director of USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative and the author of the study.
“The only obstacle here is imagination,” she said. “What we’re seeing in the aggregate is very few folks not white and male being able to participate behind the camera. The [on-screen] landscape remains primarily white and male. When you do have diversity behind the camera, things start to shift.”
* Associated Press