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Contributor Miki Turner on ‘Selma’ Snubs: ‘Stop Crying’

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*Cry Me Some Real Tears, Will Ya?

Think about it.

This outcry over Selma–a movie–getting only two Oscar nods from an organization that loudly rewards people for just doing their jobs, is a little disturbing to me.

Shouldn’t our collective outrage be directed toward REAL things that really matter like poverty, education, hunger, health care and inequality?

Personally, I liked the movie (emphasis on the word “movie”). Having been alive and alert during that time I appreciated the sobering, yet flawed trip down memory lane. I learned some things. But catch this: Selma is still a movie inspired by real or imagined events. Ava DuVernay being the first black female nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for best director is not going to feed a hungry child actually living in Selma, Ala.

And while many may think that racism is behind the appalling lack of diversity in Hollyhood, that’s not the real culprit. Nepotism is at the root of all evil in this town. The Jews basically invented this industry and they tend to hire people who attend the same synagogue. The same thing happens with Spike Lee and John Singleton; with Nancy Meyers and Ang Lee. They hire like-minded people that they know and this is what is reflected in the voting academies.

The average life span of anything in this town is 11.5 seconds and these so-called white-outs happen every 5-10 years. We get tricked into thinking that we have arrived and then… But real racism that keeps a black or Mexican kid from Mississippi; or an Asian immigrant from China from going to college is systemic.

Yes, it’s disappointing on some small level that David Oyelowo didn’t get a nom; he was good. But so were Jake Gyllenhaal and Bill Murray and Amy Adams and Angelina Jolie and Carmen Ejogo and Ruth Carter and countless others whose names we don’t know. Oyelowo will get his. Trust. And DuVernay will continue to work. But again, will them winning anything ever in their careers impact our lives? Not at all.

That’s not to say, however, that the system doesn’t need adjustments. How do we fix this diversity issue? We stop crying. We stop listening to self-serving people forming 14-minute task forces to get more TV airtime to promote their own agenda. Instead you do what Oscar Micheaux did; what Spike Lee did; what Julie Dash did—you go out and get yours. You do what Harry Belafonte and Chris Rock are doing:

You tell the damn truth.

You take Martin Luther King’s, Ralph Abernathy’s, Fannie Lou Hamer’s, John Lewis’, Diane Nash’s, Andrew Young’s, Fred Shuttlesworth’s, Coretta Scott King’s, Malcolm X’s and countless other unsung folks’ blueprint and apply it to your own life and profession.

That’s how change has been effected since B.C.

Most of all, however, you remember what’s real and what’s not.

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Miki Turner is an award-winning photojournalist, author and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.

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