Justice

Jenna Bush Hager's Flub at the Golden Globes Reveals Why Diversity Matters

January 9th 2017

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

Jenna Bush Hager made an apology for her embarrassing interview blunder at the 74th Golden Globe Awards Sunday, but it has actually highlighted the importance of diversity and a common stereotype. 

“If I offended people, I am deeply sorry. It was a mistake. Because y'all know, I am not perfect,” said Hager on the air during the "Today" show Monday. “I’m authentic, but a human, and what I didn’t want to do was make anybody feel lesser than who they are.”

The daughter of former President George W. Bush was a red carpet correspondent for NBC during the awards program, where she interviewed Pharrell Williams about the "Hidden Figures" soundtrack and called the movie "Hidden Fences." The fictitious title was a combination of the two black films that were nominated that night: "Hidden Figures" and "Fences." 

But the two movies are completely different - "Hidden Figures" is based on the true story of black female NASA scientists and "Fences" is a drama about a black family that's based on a play by August Wilson. 

However, this wasn't just a one-off, as Hager wasn't the only person to make the mistake. Actor Michael Keaton also referred to the non-existent film "Hidden Fences." 

Not all black films are the same.

After both instances, "Hidden Fences" started to trend on Twitter with quite a few users pointing to the "they all look alike" stereotype, or the idea that all people of color or those from certain ethnic groups look the same or should be lumped into one group together.

 In reference to the "they all like alike" phenomenon, in 2013, The Root's writer Jenée Desmond-Harris wrote the following: 

"And there’s even more proof that the confusing similarities among racial groups exist more in your head than in the features that exist in front of your eyes: In one study, when white participants saw a biracial (black-and-white) face and thought of it as white, they recognized it quite well. But if they thought of it as black, they recognized it just as poorly as they did other black faces. If they identified it as biracial, the results were right in the middle."

Other people on Twitter noted that the "Hidden Fences" debacle was an illustration of Hollywood's diversity problem. 

The film and television industry have continually received backlash for its lack of diversity. An analysis by the University of Southern California found that 73 percent of the characters from films in 2014 were white and only 17 out of 100 films that year had minority leads. Furthermore, the past two years #OscarsSoWhite has trended on social media during the Academy Awards. 

RELATED: The Emmys Reveal the Truth About TV and Film for Black People