Benedict Cumberbatch Says U.S. Is Better For Colored Actors Than U.K., Faces Backlash For Using Term ‘Colored’

Race continues to be a big issue in the United States. From the “whitewashing” of adapted foreign films to the growing anger over this year’s all-white Oscar nominations, the lack of diversity in Hollywood remains a huge and telling problem for the country. While there is still a long way to go, Benedict Cumberbatch, star of The Imitation Game, brings to light that things in the U.S. are still better than in the United Kingdom. In an interview on the Tavis Miley PBS talk show, Cumberbatch delved into this controversial topic (via The Hollywood Reporter).

“I think as far as colored actors go it gets really different in the U.K., and a lot of my friends have had more opportunities here [in the U.S.] than in the U.K. and that’s something that needs to change. Something’s gone wrong, we’re not representative enough in our culture of different races and that really does need to step up a pace. I don’t want to get into any debates about that, but it’s clear when you see certain migratory patterns that there are more opportunities here than in the U.K.”

Although Benedict Cumberbatch does show a perspective on the subject that is rarely seen in Hollywood, he isn’t immune to minor controversy. Cumberbatch’s comment, while obviously well-intended, is facing a bit of backlash due to his use of the word “colored,” The Independent reports. The spokesperson of Show Racism the Red Card, a U.K. anti-racism charity, elaborated on their position on Cumberbatch’s statement.

Show Racism The Red Card
Show Racism The Red Card had a few words to say about Benedict Cumberbatch's use of the word 'colored.'

“The lack of representation of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds within certain industries in the UK is an issue which needs addressing, and we are pleased that Benedict has spoken out in support of more appropriate representation and of the views of actors and campaigners like Lenny Henry.”

“In doing so, he has also inadvertently highlighted the issue of appropriate terminology and the evolution of language. Show Racism the Red Card feel that the term ‘colored’ is now outdated and has the potential to cause offense due to the connotations associated with the term and its historical usage.”

The spokesperson acknowledged the fact that “people of color” is a term used often in the U.S., but as a whole, it is a term best avoided. There has been no response from Cumberbatch on the apparent misuse of the word “colored” as of yet.

What are your thoughts on Benedict Cumberbatch’s quote? Do you think his use of the word “colored” was inappropriate?

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