Tag Archives: ethnicity

Artists and Non-Offensiveness: The Tyranny of Over-Sensitivity, Feelings, and Participation Trophies

safespaces

There’s a troubling trend.  There’s an absurd unwillingness to offend that seems pervasive among arts creators.

Not that creators are creating “Pleasant Art,” per se.  Writers and artists are creating lots of work that is designed to make audiences uncomfortable.  Which is good.  The work may be about single issues and not terribly complex, but it’s good.

However, there are too many artists raised in atmospheres where everyone wins, even when they lose.  In the name of inclusion and self-esteem, they live in a world where, like toddlers, “feeling bad” is simply unacceptable.

They believe they’re special.

To these artists:

  1. You are not special.
  2. You do not deserve success.
  3. Sometimes you lose.

It’s what you do with that information that defines you.

If you believe that nobody should ever have hurt feelings, you’re not doing your job.

How You Can Solve Diversity With Your Nonprofit Arts Organization!

race

You can’t.

Arts organizations challenge, reflect, and engage.  They don’t solve.

And remember, race is only one small bit of cultural diversity, not all of them.  Just as the opposite of love isn’t “hate,” but “indifference;” the opposite of diverse isn’t “white,” but “homogeneous.”

I read a political blog recently about the Democratic Party presidential race.  What troubled me were these words:

“What I’m crossing my fingers for is that in ten years or so we’ll get… a young,
charismatic democratic socialist who runs for president. (Preferably this
candidate would be a woman or a non-white person or, ideally, both.)”

Isn’t that parenthetical statement just as intolerant as one where “not” had been inserted after “would?”

Diversity isn’t only about race or gender or any of myriad other categories.  It’s about power, shared equally, with specific impact.

“Do You Have Experience Working with a Diverse Work Environment?”

A university’s job application asked that very question.

What I wanted to write:

“What’s your definition of non-diversity?  Is it…

Average build?

Moderately healthy?

Clean-shaven?

Unblemished?

30-40?

White?

Christian?

Male?

 

If so, then the following list might represent descriptions of who divert from your implication of what is normal:

Black. Yellow. Red. Brown.

Geriatric. Juvenile.

Giant.  Little.

Amputee. Physically handicapped.

Wheelchair. Cane. Crutch.

With service animal.

Bald. Hirsute.

Fat. Skinny.

Muscle-bound.  Frail.

Left-handed. 

Nine-toed.  Six-fingered.

Widowed.  Divorced. 

Criminal.

Bearded.  Mustachioed.

Blistered. Blotched.

Diseased.  Cleft Palate.

Dyed.  Kinky-haired.  Carved.

Tattooed.  Branded.  Freckled. Pimpled.

Toothless.  Bandaged.  Pierced. 

Orthodontia. Glasses. Hearing aid.

Billionaire.

Homeless.

Asymmetrical.  Wrinkled.  Ugly.  Malodorous.

Muslim. Jew. Buddhist. Hindi. 

Other.

Atheist.

Bi-polar. Depressed.  Anxiety disorder.

Blind. Deaf.  Mute.

Foreign.  Multiracial.

Sad.  Manic.

Catatonic.

Homosexual.  Bisexual.  Pansexual.  Transgendered.

Female.

Circumcised.   Sterilized.

Genius.  Imbecile.

 

Therefore, in answer to your question…yes.”

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