Kerry Washington On Hollywood’s Diversity Problem: ‘We’re Still Centring Whiteness As The Most Important Thing’

Kerry Washington is speaking her mind about diversity in Hollywood, pointing out that while some great strides have been made there’s still plenty more that needs to be done.

Appearing on the “Hollywood the Sequel” podcast, the former “Scandal star was asked what she hopes to see emerge from We See You, White American Theater, a campaign seeking to combat racism in the arts.

“When we say we’re committed to diversity — it’s diverse from what?” says Washington. “We’re still centring whiteness as the most important thing and inviting diversity around that. Or when we talk about inclusivity, there’s still an in and an out. So, we’re still centring certain kinds of people and maybe in tiny fractions allowing other people to the table. There’s just so much of it that needs to reexamined. The simple answer is … I hope a lot of good [comes out of it] and that we can see each other, and have courage to make room for each other.”

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Addressing the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, Washington admits this isn’t “a moment of revelation” personally for her, “but I’m watching the revelation around me for people, and I’m grateful that the world is showing up for Black lives in a different way, but this is what has been the reality — this level of danger and anger and fear. Maybe trauma and lack of safety — this has been the reality of Black Americans since there were Black Americans.”

Diversity, she believes, is something that must be addressed across the board, not just in Hollywood.

“We have to be willing to look at ourselves, regardless of what industry we’re in,” she adds.

To address that, she’s calling for “a more radical acceptance of anti-racist society, policies and culture,” adding: “I think what people are realizing is that it’s not enough to just not be racist — that because our institution were built in the fabric of racism, because our country was born with Black Americans being designated a fraction of a human being —  it’s not enough to just not be racist, we have to be actively anti-racist and for that desire to come from a deep understanding that we all deserve full rights of humanity.”

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The podcast can be heard in its entirety below:

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