Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Minority Report

Despite saying the other day that I really didn't enjoy getting up on my high horse when it comes to race and prejudice, I'm afraid to say that I've been forced to saddle up again.

I was all set to write another entry about me falling over/tripping up/falling over after tripping up when I came across this article:


This saddens me greatly because although I understand that the intentions behind it are admirable, this really isn't the way to ensure that those from an 'ethnic minority' are fairly represented on stage and screen. I completely agree that there needs to be greater diversity in the races that we see in our theatres, cinemas and televisions and although some of the problem lies with those who sit firmly within the creative thrones, much rests on the fact that drama school has very much become  a privilege for those that have the funds and support available.

The fact that someone feels it necessary to have a school dedicated to the needs of those from an ethnic minority makes me angrier than an angry bird because not only does it show what a sorry state the world of acting is in but surely a dedicated school just creates further barriers. If a child as young as six is attending classes that have been specifically set up for people of a certain race, what example does that set? Surely the child just feels more alienated from the outside world and is lead to believe that instead of getting out there and being proud of their heritage, allowances need to be made because of the colour of their skin. I can't help but feel that this money would've been much better spent being put into communities to encourage those children who do have a natural talent or genuine interest in the arts that they can actually do something with that ambition and can at least attempt to have the career they want (let's not get ahead of ourselves...although we can strive for better racial equality, the lack of jobs ain't ever gonna change...) Children should grow up believing that the country their parents were born in has absolutely no bearing on what they want to do with their life. Instead it seems like this school will segregate these children further and make them feel like there are barriers put up before they've even had a chance to encounter them.

The founder has stated that the school would be open to everyone but with the name 'The Academy of Asian and Ethnic Dramatic Arts' surely they are just creating their own 'ethnically exlcusive' industry. Just as they feel that the acting industry isn't as welcoming to those from a minority, by giving themselves such a specific name, they are instantly alienating those who don't fall under it. Wouldn't it be a whole lot nicer if money could be put into educating all areas of the acting spectrum so that instead of being this exclusive society, the acting world can be open to everyone regardless of their background? Surely integration is the much stronger tool that needs to be used here to make sure that there are absolutely no barriers in the way when a child expresses an interest in being a tree?

This is in no means an attack on the enterprising soul who has decided to set up this academy. I fully commend his intentions and hopefully the fact that he has to do this will just show the industry that more can be done. I also realise that I was very lucky when growing up as I was taught that I could achieve anything (apart from the sad day at the age of 5 when I realised that no matter how many Maltesers I ate, I'd never walk up walls) and I understand that not all children are that fortunate. But maybe we should be tackling the problems face on rather than implementing changes that could potentially make the problem worse. Or maybe I should just keep quiet and keep all the jobs for myself...

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