WHAT PART OF “DIVERSITY IS EXCELLENCE” IS NOT CLEAR?
Practising ‘diversity thinking’ is not about just quotas and patronising expressions of affirmative action or just tokenistically reaching out to someone not from your tribe. It’s about realising that an established or predominant mode of thought or life experience may not provide all or the best answers to human endeavour and social leadership. Every subset or group of peoples can, to some degree and with diligent historical purview, take responsibility for a myriad of achievements and failings of the human race. But to stubbornly perpetuate the dominance, bar all DIVERSE information AND life experience available, of one or few mythical subsets is cultural in-breeding and can only doom your ideas and complex selfhood to oblivion.
In finance, we don’t say ‘don’t diversify your investment portfolio, because blah blah blah MERIT’.
In agriculture and botany, we don’t say ‘plant the same crops year after year, season after season in THE SAME SPOT and we will have a bountiful and sustainable harvest’
So, tell me, why is it when we talk about expressing thought, ideas, cultural practices and creative production, that talking about diversity is somehow counter to the notion of merit and excellence?
The Oscars, and potentially many other elite institutions bankrolling, recognising and incentivising achievement, need to check if they are actually supporting MEDIOCRITY in the name of preserving cultural hegemony.
Richard Brody from the New Yorker says it all- the price of preserving whiteness is an Academy archive overwhelmed by forgettable films and second-rate performances.
“As a species we are thick. Thick as clotted cream, that’s been left out by some clot, and now the clots are so clotted, you couldn’t unclot them with an electric de-clotter”