The affirmative action that the U.S.A. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems about to undertake early in 2016 in order that the ethnic composition of its membership might more accurately reflect the racial diversity of that country’s population is commendable. Hopefully, it will also be at least a small step in the direction of more fairly recognising the best work of artists and technicians in the movies, regardless of whether they are Native Americans, or of African, Indo-European, Asian or of any other ethno-racial origin that anyone cares to define. People are people. People who make movies are people, first and foremost. Talent contests, beauty contests, or any sort of competition purporting to determine pecking orders of artistic merit, are necessarily divisive, in the long run. They do not, in and of themselves, improve, negate, or justify anyone’s work. Art is about communication, not about winning and losing. These competitions are very popular and often quite lucrative for the chosen few, however, so they will never disappear. As in almost any instance of racial, class, or ideological discrimination, it bears keeping in mind that the underlying problem of discrimination in the arts, politics, or in any other sphere is one of misinformation, censorship, and the promotion of disunity of human beings based on economic interests. Follow the money. In any case, the best righteous positions, with or without prizes given, are lived, regardless of the consequences, not preached. —

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