Geena Davis

But white actresses are gonna lose work, because what the race hustlers have their eyes on are those juicy ingenue roles.

As it is, these entertainment-industry “diversity” crusades always end up doomed by the fact that the various victim groups inevitably begin clawing at each other and pulling each other down as they try to scale the Hollywood sign like the undead in World War Z. In a town of retreads and reboots, “inclusion rider mania” is nothing more than a rerun of the great diversity drive of 1999. Remember that? Of course not. But it was headline news back then. “Groups Band Together to Press for Diversity Campaign: Organizations form 19-member coalition to make networks include more minority characters and employees on their shows,” screamed the L.A. Times on Sept. 11, 1999. Black, Asian, and Latino organizations had formed a mighty coalition to force the TV networks to diversify or else. In January 2000, these fearless diversifiers lobbied Congress to regulate “inclusion” on TV the same way the government regulated children’s programming (at the time, the FCC mandated that broadcasters had to provide three hours per week of educational children’s programming). The Coalition of 19 wanted the government to set a weekly quota of nonwhites on TV.

It seemed as though there was no stopping this indivisible band of brothers. Or perhaps I should say bruthas, because by the end of the month, the NAACP had cut its own deal with the networks for black inclusion, leaving its brown and yellow comrades out in the cold. “No es bueno,” declared former U.S. representative Esteban Torres, the coalition’s lead Latino negotiator. “No es bueno indeed.”

In 2002 the coalition pretty much disbanded when the black representatives walked away after the Latino faction voted to bring in the Mexican Grocers Association as a member, because the treatment of Mexican grocers is, of course, inextricably tied to issues of television diversity.

The Coalition of 19 failed because, in the end, each victim group was interested only in gains for its own “kind.” In today’s inclusion-rider movement, there’s a new wrinkle. The leaders aren’t people like Esteban Torres and Kweisi Mfume, but preening white A-list actresses who claim to be disenfranchised. The fact that white women are leading the fight this time will not stop the black and Latino factions from, once again, selfishly guarding their own interests. But it will certainly give them a common enemy to fight before they turn on each other. A rude awakening is in store for the white actresses who are currently (if unknowingly) committing career suicide by backing inclusion riders. As Hollywood salivates over the massive success of Black Panther (which, it should be noted, beat the pantsuit off the female-driven Tomb Raider at the box office two weeks ago), white actresses might just find themselves dispossessed after all.



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