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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Hollywood's identity crisis: Actors, writers and producers warn of 'reverse racism' in the film industry

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On 7/14/2020 at 12:23 PM, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

 

, 'blacks' and 'homosexuals' are being pushed down everyone's throat as a rate far beyond their percentage of the population. 

This is an extremely thoughtless choice of words given the singular event that has triggered off the recent series of world wide protests and I write this as a middle aged, middle class, straight white male.

As a middle aged, middle class, straight, white male in an industry dominated by a set of white, middle and upper class people of both sexes very sure that they are entitled to make decisions for the rest of us I don’t feel under siege. However, people who have enjoyed a certain status conveyed on them by a particular group may feel any such ephemeral status may be under threat. And I can understand if another group in pushing against against exclusion decides they can do without my status and help even if it’s uncomfortable for me. It’s a matter of being able to change and open to change and I can see in my middle aged, middle class self how difficult I find it is to change.

 

I can’t speak for the film industry nor can I speak for the worldwide television industry but my observation from years in UK, Australian and to a lesser extent US television, is that there is an over representation of very conservative people where received wisdom on how things are is the prevailing intellectual outlook.

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1 hour ago, Jeremy Cavanagh said:

This is an extremely thoughtless choice of words given the singular event that has triggered off the recent series of world wide protests and I write this as a middle aged, middle class, straight white male.

I might agree with your concerns over the choice of words, but the facts remain. It is possible for both things to be true at once. American police may be prone to violence and racism, and the film industry may be prone to scapegoating people who have done nothing wrong. Both of those are things we should seek to change.

To put it another way, consider a query I raised earlier in the thread. If I am asked by a young, straight, white, male beginner in the camera department why he can't attend a particular event, I cannot reasonably answer "because a white American policeman murdered a black person," no matter how strongly we all feel about it.

I could speculate that the current political situation has created an appalling with-us-or-against-us mindset that leads people to work on the basis that that anyone (for instance) querying the worst excesses of positive discrimination is an unreconstructed white supremacist who approves of police brutality. I don't appreciate that implication. Obviously, it's bollocks. At least, I hope it's obvious. I thought it was obvious. Maybe it isn't, but I've made it clear now.

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3 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

I might agree with your concerns over the choice of words, but the facts remain.

The choice of words that are thoughtless is Daniel saying that "blacks and homosexuals are being rammed down our throat on TV". I'm sure you agree that this is not a fact.

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4 minutes ago, Uli Meyer said:

The choice of words that are thoughtless is Daniel saying that "blacks and homosexuals are being rammed down our throat on TV". I'm sure you agree that this is not a fact.

The thoughtlessness concerned the situation where a person died because people in authority put pressure on his throat......for around eight minutes.......despite the dying man gasping out that he couldn’t breath.....

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5 minutes ago, Jeremy Cavanagh said:

The thoughtlessness concerned the situation where a person died because people in authority put pressure on his throat......for around eight minutes.......despite the dying man gasping out that he couldn’t breath.....

Ah, ok, I misunderstood.

21 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

If I am asked by a young, straight, white, male beginner in the camera department why he can't attend a particular event,

Phil, what event are you talking about?

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13 minutes ago, Jeremy Cavanagh said:

The thoughtlessness concerned the situation where a person died because people in authority put pressure on his throat......for around eight minutes.......despite the dying man gasping out that he couldn’t breath.....

Yes, and nobody here is objecting to the idea that the circumstances you describe are appalling. Everyone's horrified. That's not controversial.

The crucial learning from this is simply that it has absolutely nothing to do with the justifiability of positive discrimination.

P

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3 minutes ago, Uli Meyer said:

Phil, what event are you talking about?

I'm not going to go into details as these are people I have to work with, but it's a UK film industry organisation which has organised events intended to offer careers guidance.

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22 minutes ago, Uli Meyer said:

The choice of words that are thoughtless is Daniel saying that "blacks and homosexuals are being rammed down our throat on TV". I'm sure you agree that this is not a fact.

That would depend on your definition of "rammed down our throat." I certainly wouldn't put it that way, though some recent productions have been criticised for allowing their politics to overshadow their story. Batwoman was attacked by people on both sides of the debate for, simultaneously, politicising a non-heterosexual lead character and for casting that was viewed as both insufficiently homosexual and ethnically inappropriate, even though both of those are protected characteristics in most jurisdictions and should not be used to as a prerequisite for employment.

Apparently they're now recasting that role. Unfortunately, "casting a lesbian" also means "excluding certain people for their sexual orientation." Sounds bad when you put it that way, eh?

Makes you wonder how Rock Hudson did so well with all those straight roles.

P

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Wow, last night I found out the term 'reverse racism' or 'reverse discrimination,' if uttered by a white guy, means you are a white supremist. I had no idea.

I read about it with the news that one of Americas top art curators at SFMOMA had the misfortune of talking about reverse discrimination on a zoom meeting, as in 'don't worry, the museum will still collect art by white people or that would be reverse discrimination.' 

A petition circulated for his dismissal signed by 280 people. In today's climate if you didn't support the petition you would be labeled as a racist and a petition would be circulated for your dismissal. 

I didn't provide any link for you. It is all over the net. You find the link that matches your personal prejudices will approve of.

Got up early this morning, still blurry eyed, I turned on NPR news. I didn't get the whole story, but they were talking about 'if you are buying guns in this panic...you are a racist.' 

Moral of the story...never mention reverse racism (if you are white) and don't tell anyone if you own guns.

 

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1 hour ago, Phil Rhodes said:

That would depend on your definition of "rammed down our throat." I certainly wouldn't put it that way, though some recent productions have been criticised for allowing their politics to overshadow their story. Batwoman was attacked by people on both sides of the debate for, simultaneously, politicising a non-heterosexual lead character and for casting that was viewed as both insufficiently homosexual and ethnically inappropriate, even though both of those are protected characteristics in most jurisdictions and should not be used to as a prerequisite for employment.

Apparently they're now recasting that role. Unfortunately, "casting a lesbian" also means "excluding certain people for their sexual orientation." Sounds bad when you put it that way, eh?

Makes you wonder how Rock Hudson did so well with all those straight roles.

P

What ? Rock Hudson was gay... 

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6 hours ago, Robin R Probyn said:

What ? Rock Hudson was gay... 

Yes, and he played an awful lot of straight people. We can't possibly have that!

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Some of the discourse around casting is a little silly. "E.g only LGBTQ actors can play LGBTQ roles".... etc 

It totally ignores what acting is. Sure it might be better from a performance perspective to have an actor with personal experience of the character they are playing. It might make the film and performance better and more informed. Or it might not, a good actor is a good actor. Straight actors can play gay characters, gay actors can play straight characters, men can play women, women play men...The whole policing of who can do what role from both sides of the debate misses the point. Would love to see what the more paranoid "representation police" would make of a traditional British Pantomime. Its strange how colour blind and gender blind casting happens all the time in the theatre with little fanfare, but on film its contentious. 

I don't disagree with other comments about positive discrimination. To my mind its bolting the door after the horse has run away. Its not actual change but a band aid over problems. While I'm not a fan, I don't really get that angry about it that much, because its usually well intentioned. It comes from a place of trying to do something, even if it potentially only pisses of people that are excluded and doesn't help the recipients that much. (I make this point as an outside observer, i've never been internal to any of these things, so its possible maybe it is a help, I don't think it is, but its not black and white, end footnote) 

Back to the Daily Mail article - I still think its painting a divisive picture, not attempting represent how things are, but using a worst case scenario to attack progressive causes. The article and the tone of it is written in a way to make "white, straight, males" feel under attack. In reality, i don't think its that bad and if you look at who's getting the opportunities higher up the chain in most departments - it doesn't look like white/males etc... are particularly under represented. 

The main reason I take issue with the DM article is it seeks to miss represent Hollywoods diversity problem. E.g "White Males are the oppressed group", when the opposite is true. Lack of diversity my not be resolved by positive discrimination.. But it will never be improved if people follow the Daily Mail line and ignore the problem, this article is deeply troubling from that perspective. I'm sure the quotes in the Mail Article are true, but it paints a picture of white men under siege. Making a moderate problem look much worse then it is.  I'm sure the article has a seed of truth in it - thats been manipulated and twisted to suit the DM's agenda. This is an article with an agenda not a sober report of fact with stats and studies to back it up. Meanwhile pay gap stats and diversity reports in many industries paint the opposite picture. 

The whole point of the BLM movement is a about awareness, e.g most white people don't witness loads of racism so we think its a non problem. The BLM movement has basically stated its still an issue, and when you look at the state of some of the stuff on social media and how racist some people still are,  its sobering. 

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2 hours ago, Phil Connolly said:

its usually well intentioned

It is.

The problem with it is that the people with the good intentions generally haven't bothered thinking about it very much, and have made some terrible decisions as a result. I've frequently confronted people with the simple question as to what proportion of (for instance) camera assistants they'd expect to be female. Almost always, the response hasn't been that they don't have an answer. The response has been that they'd never even realised the question could be asked or that it was important.

This sort of thinking is being used exclude people from things based on protected characteristics. I'd speculate, with huge misgivings, that in some very specific circumstances that may be necessary, but certainly it should surely only be done with the most careful consideration.

Many of the people who support this stuff have given it absolutely no consideration at all. They may be well-intentioned, but they're also exhibiting a populist, knee-jerk reaction to the politics rather than the facts of the issue and that is not good enough. It's pretty stupid, and it's pretty dangerous for the future.

2 hours ago, Phil Connolly said:

the Daily Mail article... painting a divisive picture, not attempting represent how things are, but using a worst case scenario to attack progressive causes.

I wouldn't disagree, although the scenario on which it is based is, allowing for semantics, not worst-case, but a current reality. People are being excluded from things on the basis of protected characteristics. A double standard does exist. It is done openly; it is normal, it is a matter of public record. The fact that it gives the Daily Mail some very valid ammunition should be a gigantic, brightly-illuminated warning sign with accompanying klaxon.

3 hours ago, Phil Connolly said:

The main reason I take issue with the DM article is it seeks to miss represent Hollywoods diversity problem. E.g "White Males are the oppressed group", when the opposite is true.

I avoid using the word "oppressed," as it conjures up too many associations with current populist political thought, but for certain values of "oppressed" they may not be the oppressed group, but they are certainly an oppressed group. All that requires is for the word "oppressed" to mean "disadvantaged based on protected characteristics." That may not be a popular conclusion to draw, but it is being drawn, and quite reasonably from the facts.

To dig a little deeper into the modern concept of oppression, I think it's worth making a comparison with the McCarthyism, which Wikipedia puts much better than I can: "the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence." It's not hard to find examples of people who would consider themselves progressive making vague-yet-forthright references to an undercurrent of prejudice running through society, with the only consistent characteristic being that it is undetectable yet must be accepted to exist.

Probably in certain geographical areas, among certain populations, in certain circumstances, there is some truth to it. Again, though, even if it's true, that sort of claim about a general, societal ill cannot reasonably be used to justify disadvantaging an individual who has done nothing wrong.

 

P

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Posted (edited)
On 7/15/2020 at 6:15 PM, Max Field said:

Racist =/= Prejudice..........

I'm wasting my time, no way Tim Tyler let's this thread make it to August.

I agree.  Too bad others don't see it that way. Doesn't it make you sick how much racism there is nowadays over skin color?

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2020-07-13/cbs-racial-diversity-effort-writers-development-bipoc

CBS wants at least 40% of its writers to be Black, indigenous or people of color by the 2021-22 broadcast season.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/16/arts/music/blind-auditions-orchestras-race.html

To Make Orchestras More Diverse, End Blind Auditions.

https://jonathanturley.org/2020/07/17/seattle-city-council-member-suggests-firing-white-officers-in-massive-reduction-of-police-department/

Seattle City Council Member Suggests Firing White Officers In Massive Reduction Of Police Department

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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Now let's look at the numbers of actual corporate ownership of people who aren't white..
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Gonna find it much harder to find thick percentages in that, and look at the amount of people overlooking that issue from both sides of the political spectrum!

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24 minutes ago, Max Field said:

Gonna find it much harder to find thick percentages in that, and look at the amount of people overlooking that issue from both sides of the political spectrum!

The problem is what you do about that.

The general principle here is that of applying statistics to individuals, or, more to the point, not doing that. What we don't do - not ever - is assume that, since members of a particular group are on average less suited for a particular job, is to assume that any particular member of that group is not suited for a particular job. Men on average score (very slightly) lower on tests we might consider indicative of suitability for work in childcare, but we should not abuse that statistic as a means to deny any particular man a job. For the sake of equity, women on average are slightly slower at solving problems of three-dimensional spatial acuity, but we do not prevent any particular woman from becoming, say, a pilot, if she is capable of passing the tests.

We do not, we should not, apply statistics to the individual. It's massively unfair.

(It's worth being clear, and it's interesting, that most of these differences are in fact vanishingly small and arguably caused more by socialisation than biology, but that's another argument entirely.)

The big problem with this is that it becomes very difficult to justify disadvantaging someone in pursuit of evening these numbers out, or even figuring out what success would look like.

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