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You do not have to have lived an experience at all to portray it. That’s why it’s called acting.

Understanding the experience to a certain point may help. You do not have to have lived an experience at all to understand it to that point that’s necessary for portrayal.

Considering the lack of introspection human beings are capable of, it’s probable that people who have a lived an experience don’t “understand” it, either fully or in the same way another person with similar experience does.

And for all the words we could waste on this, it IS at one level about work, and getting parts. Acting is zero-sum. If you have a part, then someone else doesn’t. And the less parts are available the more vicious the fight becomes.

The real discussion that isn’t addressed is about whether certain groups own, or deserve the parts in question.

Directors and producers need their actors to be able to tell their stories. The best actor to portray a role might not be the one who “deserves” it. Social Justice in this sense is the enemy of art. Maybe it needs to be. Maybe not. But that’s the elephant in the director’s chair.

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