To the editor: I'm white and I'll be tuning out the Oscars this year. So will everyone in my family. I'm going to urge all my white friends to pass this year too, and if anyone white in the entertainment industry is reading this, I'm asking that you stay home along with Spike Lee, Tonya Lewis Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith. Why would I do that? ("Why the #OscarsSoWhite fuss matters," Jan. 19)
While the persistent lack of award nominees among blacks and other people of color is grievously impactful to them, it is not their problem to fix. It is, in fact, a white problem, and it's us white people who have to fix it.
Everyone knows that predominantly white men run the studios, and everyone of good conscience knows that's where the problem starts — created and perpetuated by structural racism and the people who benefit from it. Mary McNamara also makes this point in her front-page column and calls it a kind of artistic tyranny. But until large numbers of white people are willing to take a stand and say "no" to the exclusionary status quo, the problem will not go away any time soon.
A large-scale boycott of the Oscars, on TV and in person, is an appropriate and timely place to start.
Karen Hilfman, Los Angeles
To the editor: I am disappointed by the lack of diversity in this year's Academy Award nominations and understand the reaction of actors and directors who are boycotting the Oscars. But I would encourage the opposite approach.
I would like to see nonwhite actors, actresses, directors, writers and others show up en masse at the Dolby Theatre on Feb. 28 and take seats in the front rows.
There are too many racists who believe that nonwhite talent just isn't there in Hollywood. So blacks should attend and fill the front rows, prominent to the TV cameras. I think there are enough white attendees who would support this action by ceding the front of the theater.
Such a visible protest would show the world the diversity that exists but is not respected enough in Hollywood.
Andrew Draus, Bellevue, Iowa
To the editor: Well, congratulations.
The race baiters and liberal activists have succeeded in spoiling what should be a celebration of film. The winners will now feel like scum and future filmmakers will forever be looking over their backs, wondering who they're going to insult next.
Some years will have more people of color than others. That's just life. Get over it. But I'm afraid the awards will never be the same.
John Lynch, West Hollywood
To the editor: Enough hand-wringing over the major nominations for next month's Academy Awards.
When excellent films like the best picture winner in 2014, "12 Years a Slave," hit theaters, Oscar awards and nominations abound. When good films such as "Straight Outta Compton" come along, they fall in line with scores of other good movies that have less chance of being nominated.
Undoubtedly, more excellent films directed by and starring minorities will be produced in the future; perhaps some are even in the works right now. They will surely grab Academy Awards.
John Gregory, Arcadia