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Charlotte Rampling On Oscars Boycott: 'Racist Against Whites'

Charlotte Rampling in December 2015
Charlotte Rampling in December 2015

PARIS — Invited on French radio Europe 1, British actress and Oscar-nominee Charlotte Rampling has weighed in on the controversy over the lack of diversity this year among Academy Award nominees, saying that filmmaker Spike Lee's call to boycott the ceremony was "racist against whites."

The 69-year-old English-born actress, famous for her movies in three languages (English, French and Italian) and nominated for Best Actress at the 88th Academy Awards for her role in Andrew Haigh's drama 45 Years, suggested that "maybe the black actors didn't deserve to make it to the last leg."

Speaking in French, she responded to a question about quotas: "Why classify people? Today we're living in a world where everyone is more or less accepted, but there'll always be problems like "this one is less handsome, that one's too black, that one's too white" ... So we'll always classify people in thousands of little minorities everywhere."

Challenged by the interviewer that African-Americans feel that they are still an under-represented minority, Rampling switched to English: "No comment."

For the second year in a row, the 20 nominees in the top four acting categories are white. This lack of diversity has led high-profile Hollywood figures like Jada Pinkett-Smith and husband Will Smith to announce they were boycotting the Feb. 28 ceremony. Others like actors David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o, George Clooney, and Idris Elba have publicly criticized the lack of nominees of color.

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The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera


CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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