Academy Apologizes for Host’s Offensive Joke

May 14, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. racist / ˈreɪ sɪst / (adj.) – looking down upon a certain race or ancestry
Example: The international school does not tolerate racist jokes among its students.

2. portray / pɔrˈtreɪ / (v.) – to represent someone or something, as in a stage play
Example: The woman dressed in a long gown was portraying a fairy.

3. offensive / əˈfɛn sɪv / (adj.) – insulting or causing negative feelings
Example: The country’s law strictly prohibits offensive comments against the government.

4. poke fun at / poʊkˈfʌn ət  / (idiom) – to make jokes about someone or something
Example: The politician poked fun at his rival during his speech.

5. diversity / dɪˈvɜr sɪ ti / (n.) – the state of having individuals of various origins and different characteristics in a group
Example: The company is striving for more diversity in the workplace.


Read the text below.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also known as the Academy, apologized for the racist jokes delivered by host Chris Rock during the 2016 Oscars.

Rock summoned to the stage three Asian children portraying accountants of a financial firm and called them dedicated, accurate, and hardworking. He added that those who were upset by the joke can just tweet about it on their phones, which he said were probably also made by the children.

The jokes were found offensive because it featured the stereotype that Asians are geniuses. It also poked fun at issues of child labor in the electronics industry.

Many celebrities of Asian ancestry expressed their frustration about the jokes, with some even sending letters to the Academy. In response, the Academy has issued an apology through its spokesperson, promising to strive for cultural sensitivity in the future.

The Academy has faced criticisms since it released this year’s list of nominees, which barely included people of color. No people of color were nominated for the major acting categories   and very few made it to other categories. This lack in diversity is being blamed on the lack of representation for people of color among members of the Academy.

The Academy’s current president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, said in a statement in January that they are making major changes in hopes of making the Academy more inclusive. For instance, rules on granting membership to the Academy were already revised to include more people of color among those who vote for nominees.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you feel about the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards’ nominees?
·         Do you think that including more people of color among voters of Academy Award nominees will change anything? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         In what other sectors can racial discrimination happen? Discuss.
·         In what ways can people be more inclusive of people of other races or ancestries?

May 14, 2016