Hollywood’s diversity problem

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Photo of The Hollywood Sign by Eugene Wei via Flickr/CC.

Photo of The Hollywood Sign by Eugene Wei via Flickr/CC.

Don’t look to TV and movies if you want to get a true sense of America’s racial diversity.

That’s according to researchers at UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies. A new report from the Westwood campus says minorities are not making the final cut in Hollywood.

The U.S. Census Bureau says non-whites make up about 36 percent of the U.S. population. But UCLA researchers say minorities had lead roles in just 11 percent of the 172 feature films made in a recent year. That’s just one example. Overall, the report says minorities are represented on camera and behind-the-scenes far below their percentages in the general population.

Darnell Hunt, lead author of the study, says Hollywood is “woefully out of touch with an emerging America.”

He said Hollywood is losing money by failing to reflect the country’s multiculturalism, because audiences are drawn to movies and TV shows that feature diversity.

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis spoke with Hunt about his findings.