The Little Mermaid and the question of racially-conscious casting
For FAIR’s Substack, Christopher J. Ferguson writes about the controversy around the casting of The Little Mermaid remake.
Some people will respond, “But don’t minority groups deserve to be represented in film?”, to which the answer is “Absolutely!” But taking an existing character and swapping out their identity characteristics is a crude and clumsy way to do it. A much better way is to create new characters and stories. For example, Wonder Woman for girls and The Black Panther for black Americans were both runaway success stories that generated comparatively little backlash from irate fans (there’s always some but we can ignore the trolls).
The live-action Little Mermaid remake was a missed opportunity to bring to screen a story we haven’t seen before. Disney could have brought an African folktale to US audiences, in which case a black cast wouldn’t have been at all controversial. It would also have given us some new stories rather than tired remakes. Tell us new stories! Sure, new stories are untested and risky, whereas the Little Mermaid must have looked like easy money. But some risks are worth taking.
10 Notes on the End of Affirmative Action
For his Substack, Coleman’s Corner, FAIR Advisor Coleman Hughes writes about the end of affirmative action.
In a landmark verdict handed down today, the Supreme Court ruled that the use of race in college admissions violates the 14th amendment––effectively ending “Affirmative Action” overnight. For some, this is a shocking step backwards. For others, it’s a long overdue endorsement of color-blindness and non-discrimination.
I am in the latter camp. I think “Affirmative Action” is a misguided, discriminatory policy whose end is long overdue. But I know many intelligent and well-meaning people who disagree. In the coming weeks, I expect many media outlets to push an alarmist viewpoint that we have dialed the clock back to the days of Jim Crow. So I’d like to lay out, as clearly as possible, my reasons for believing that this decision is a net good for American society.
Why (most) lies are protected speech, and why they should stay that way
For FIRE Newsdesk, FAIR Advisor Angel Eduardo writes about why he believes that we shouldn’t use government power to try enforcing the truth.
Like any deviation from the presumption that speech is protected, these exceptions to the rule are limited, narrowly defined, and place the burden on the government to justify. First Amendment law recognizes that any attempt to suppress freedom of speech, no matter how well-intentioned, is a perilous endeavor. Carelessly allowing the government to regulate what can and cannot be said will cost us more than we bargained for. That is why each category of unprotected speech has been approached with a careful eye toward preserving free expression and avoiding government overreach — and the bar is set high for good reason.
They Keep Getting Younger and Younger
For Reality’s Last Stand, FAIR Advisor Lisa Selin Davis writes about why the mean age of gender dysphoria diagnosis is decreasing.
For years, the patient demographics remained similar. The bulk of those with what was originally called gender identity disorder—marked discomfort with or distress at one’s sexed body—were middle-aged men. Of the small number of children suffering from this rare condition, the majority experienced it beginning in early childhood. Most were boys.
Then, sometime in the 2010s, things began to change. The sex ratio flipped, with many more girls than boys suffering from GID, which was renamed gender dysphoria in 2013. Within a decade, the number of teens identifying as trans shot up, most of them girls with no history of gender issues—trends viewable in both published data and endless personal accounts.
This week, a new article confirmed what many of us already knew, and it says it all in the title: “The mean age of gender dysphoria diagnosis is decreasing.”
Why I’m Suing Penn State
Misguided as my supervisor was, she wasn’t just one rogue professor in the bunch. Antiracism fever ran rampant through the school’s institutional culture. To commemorate Juneteenth 2020, Abington’s DEI director told us to “Stop being afraid of your own internalized white supremacy” and to “Hold other white people accountable.” That same week, amidst faculty panic over a masked-up return to campus, one colleague invoked “history and white male privilege” to forecast, without discernible evidence, “One can already see a mile away that there will be some who resist wearing masks, etc. Such resistance is also more likely to be led by white males and in classrooms taught by women and people of color.”
In September 2021, I complied with my state-mandated duty to report bias of these (and other) incidents. The Penn State Affirmative Action Office summoned me into a Zoom meeting where its associate director informed me, “There is a problem with the White race” then directed me to continue attending antiracist workshops “until you get it.”
The Legal Foundation of Women’s Sports Is Under Fire
For The New York Times, David French writes about the legal foundation of women’s sports.
But the argument is not that transgender athletes will always win, but rather that if schools replace sex with gender identity as the relevant criterion for participation, then the statutory sex-based promises of participation and benefits in educational programs will be undermined. (Gender identity, as the A.C.L.U. defined it, is a “medical term for a person’s ‘deeply felt, inherent sense’ of belonging to a particular sex.”)
After all, when we survey the performance gap between male and female athletes, is that gap best explained by the differences in gender identity between the competitors or the differences that are inherent in biological sex? And if those differences are best explained by biological sex rather than gender identity, then any rule that wipes out biological sex as the determining factor in eligibility will undermine both the practical and legal basis for women’s sports.
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