The oscars race row

The nominations for the 2016 Academy Awards kicked off a race row this week when it emerged that none of the nominees for the top four Oscar categories were black. Director Spike Lee, actress Jada Pinkett Smith and  Michael Moore are all boycotting the awards ceremony.

Naturally, the worst kind of hashtag activists have been out in force, denouncing the heretics who dare to suggest that imposing a quota of black nominees would mean abandoning the principle of rewards based on merit (although let’s be honest, the Oscars have never really been about talent).

Dissenting voices have been relentlessly attacked. ‘Italian Job’ and ‘Alfie’ star Michael Caine said that, whilst he thought Idris Elba should have been nominated for ‘Beasts of No Nation’, “you can’t vote for an actor just because he’s black”.

Dexter and Broadchurch actress Charlotte Rampling put herself in the firing line when she said that the boycott was “racist to whites”. She suggested to French radio network Europe 1, that “perhaps the black actors didn’t merit being on the finish line”.

Rampling and Caine have faced a torrent of abuse and condemnation online, with campaigners condemning the veteran actors as ‘out of touch’ idiots, motivated by racism and blinded by ‘white privilege’.

Apparently pointing out the hypocrisy of politically correct “anti-racists” is racist now, even though they are the ones seemingly obsessed with race, and see everything in racial lens.

That is what passes for profound thought in multiculturalist ‘anti-racist’ circles.

For most people, racism means treating someone differently because of the colour of their skin, but “anti-racists” understand racism as a hierarchy of power relations.

When Diane Abbott said that “white people love playing divide and rule”, she was rightly blasted to smithereens by online commentators and the popular media. Yet Abbott’s brand of reverse racism is fast becoming mainstream.

It takes a certain kind of bloody-minded courage to stand against hashtag activists once they get into full flow. But courage is exactly what we need to see in our public figures and celebrities. Surrendering to the fashionable causes and opinions of the moment might be easy but it is also cowardly.

The more prominent people are prepared to speak out against hypocrisy, the better chance we have of slowing the PC menace, holding it back and ultimately defeating it. So bravo Charlotte Rampling and Michael Caine for saying the unsayable.

Chris has been a member of the Conservative Party since 2010. He believes strongly in individual freedom, personal responsibility, and the power of free markets to eliminate poverty by encouraging wealth creation. Follow him on Twitter: @cjmanby1989

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The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty.