Our obsession with identity won't make Hollywood more inclusive
This week on our Substack, Justo Antonio Triana writes about how obsession with identity in Hollywood “corrupts the artistic will to explore our common humanity, and punishes our drive to genuinely understand those who are different from us.”
Knowing the history of the United States and the struggles of minority groups to achieve equal status, one would think that this reasoning—that a person’s national origin, skin color, and sexual orientation are the most relevant aspects of their being—would not be popular today. After all, it was Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream that his children would be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” His goal was not to exclude white people, but to include black people.
The implication, which much of our extreme politics makes, that a human being can only properly understand and interpret another when their physical characteristics correspond is to judge them by the color of their skin, and to disregard the content of their character—in this case, their ability to perform a role. This goes against King’s philosophy, and takes us further away from his goal of achieving moral and social equality and reconciliation.
Actually, Color-Blindness Isn’t Racist
For The Free Press, FAIR Advisor Coleman Hughes writes about the long-running national debate about color-blindness.
“Color-blind” is an expression like “warm-hearted”: it uses a physical metaphor to encapsulate an abstract idea. To describe a person as warm-hearted is not to say something about the temperature of that person’s heart, but about the kindness of his or her spirit. Similarly, to advocate for color-blindness is not to pretend you don’t notice color. It is to endorse a principle: we should strive to treat people without regard to race, in our public policy and our private lives.
Color-blindness is the best principle with which to govern a multiracial democracy. It is the best way to lower the temperature of racial conflict in the long run. It is the best way to fight the kind of racism that really matters. And it is the best way to orient your own attitude toward this nefarious concept we call race. We abandon color-blindness at our own peril.
When a racist joke does not merit cancellation
For The New York Times, FAIR Advisor John McWhorter writes about a recent mistake made by the chancellor of Purdue University Northwest, Thomas L. Keon, the subsequent calls for his head, and why we should approach blunders such as these with a more nuanced perspective.
Is it not true that there is still a difference between racism that — however obnoxious — is nonetheless careless or accidental as opposed to intended to send a racist message? (We’ve seen all too much of the latter in the past few years.) Is it true that we must treat racism as a kind of cyanide, where even a trace amount in a glass of water is lethal?
The idea that one tacky joke constitutes the measure of a whole human being has begun to seem almost ordinary of late. However, it is a quite extraordinary idea and even rather medieval. Too often, it is wielded in a fashion that is extremist, unreflexive and recreationally hostile.
Some may think that when the joke is a racist one, all bets are off and that indeed we have seen a person’s essence, his entirety — ecce homo, as it were. But this implies that battling the power of whiteness must center all our endeavors, including determining the nature of morality in general. This is the tacit commitment of much of high wokeness today. And it, too, is less the Platonic good than a modern peculiarity.
This man wants Utah and other states to adopt a “pro-human” approach to teaching ethnic studies
For Deseret News, a Q&A with Bion Bartning, founder of the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism on how schools should teach ethnic studies and why he was inspired to found FAIR.
I’m a firm believer in seeing other people as part of one human race, and that’s what I’ve always taught my children. I have a different skin color than my children, because I inherited my father’s skin color and my kids inherited their mother’s skin color. And so, by not just suggesting this is one way to see the world, but to say it is essential that families really embrace this worldview of seeing people through the lens of skin color was troubling for me.
And I think that started me on a search for understanding. Let’s see if there’s something else out there that would actually serve a useful purpose and help children to understand that race is not real and that we are all connected. I realized pretty quickly if I wanted to do something about this, I needed to seriously consider starting an organization. And that is the genesis of FAIR.
The Stanford Guide to Acceptable Words
For The Wall Street Journal, the Editorial Board writes about Stanford University administrators publishing an index of forbidden words to be removed from the school’s websites and computer code, and provided inclusive replacements to help re-educate those deemed less enlightened and progressive.
Parodists have it rough these days, since so much of modern life and culture resembles the Babylon Bee. The latest evidence is that Stanford University administrators in May published an index of forbidden words to be eliminated from the school’s websites and computer code, and provided inclusive replacements to help re-educate the benighted.
Call yourself an “American”? Please don’t. Better to say “U.S. citizen,” per the bias hunters, lest you slight the rest of the Americas. “Immigrant” is also out, with “person who has immigrated” as the approved alternative. It’s the iron law of academic writing: Why use one word when four will do?
Does diversity training work? We don’t know — and here is why.
For The Washington Post, Betsy Levy Paluck writes about the lack of research into diversity training and why the need for more data on the subject is so important as diversity training programs continue to increase across the country.
As a behavioral scientist who studies prejudice and behavior change, I can tell you that the situation really is that bad. Last year, my colleagues and I published a comprehensive review of the prejudice reduction literature. We included only program evaluations that used random assignment and control groups, as you would use to check the effectiveness and safety of a drug. Out of hundreds of studies evaluating prejudice reduction programming from the past decade, only two large studies tracked the effects of diversity training. Most diversity training evaluations look like customer satisfaction surveys (“How much did you appreciate this?”) or elementary school worksheets (“Tell me what you learned today about stereotyping”).
Since our review, despite the surge in diversity programming, there have been only a handful of additional studies. In sum, we don’t have good evidence for what works. We’re treating a pandemic of discrimination and racial and religious resentment with untested drugs.
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