How Long Will Black Bigots Like Elie Mystal Continue To Get The Benefit Of A Double Standard?

Mystal

The question has been looming for many years, but intensifying of late. The cynical use of the fraudulent term “antiracism” to promote racism—but the good kind, where it’s white people who are the targets of stereotyping, hate and discrimination—has exploded on the culture, with many, many people, businesses and organizations too cowardly to stand up and say, “Enough.” At some point, decent Americans of all races will have to do so in great and overwhelming numbers. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

I was thinking of all this after reading a truly disturbing essay by Elie Mystal. Mystal is a black lawyer and pundit who teems with hate. The last time Ethics Alarms sullied its cyberpresence by mentioning him was in January of this year, when he tweeted this:

Elie Mystal

If you search for Mystal by using his tag here, or just use the Ethics Alarms search engine to find “Mystal,” you can get an even uglier picture of the man, a lawyer who has a double Harvard degree and has used it to spread the maximum amount of racism and racial division such credentials can permit. It is an open question whether Mystal is mentally ill, but if he is, it is a kind of mental illness that the Left now celebrates. And he has a apparently always been this way. In 2016, he advocated black jurors sabotaging the justice system:

Black people lucky enough to get on a jury could use that power to acquit any person charged with a crime against white men and white male institutions. It’s not about the race of the defendant, but if the alleged victim is a white guy, or his bank, or his position, or his authority: we could acquit. Assault? Acquit. Burglary? Acquit. Insider trading? Acquit.Murder? … what the hell do you think is happening to black people out here? What the hell do you think we’re complaining about when your cops shoot us or choke us? Acquit. Don’t throw “murder” at me like it’s some kind of moral fault line where the risk of letting one go is too great. Black people ARE BEING MURDERED, and the system isn’t doing a damn thing to hold their killers accountable. Sorry I’m not sorry if this protest idea would put the shoe on the other foot for a change.”

I wrote, “Mystal is bonkers. There’s no reasoning or fairness in his screed. He’s just fulminating, growling and slobbering like a rabid dog. It’s sad. Nobody can take anyone who expresses this kind of irrational hate as a response to frustration seriously. He’s not accurate, he’s not truthful, he’s not responsible. He has left law and logic so far behind he may never work his way back to them.”

Well, he clearly isn’t working his way back, and won’t. The latest from Elie is a post in “The Nation,” where he is the “justice editor,” which tells you all you need to know about both “The Nation” and its readers. Mystal felt secure in revealing the dark depths of his hate by extolling his favorite video-game, “The Sims,” because it allows him to create the perfect neighborhood, or what he thinks would be one:

“….I picked a neighborhood and moved all the prepackaged Sims out. I moved my Sim family and Sim friends in. I have to be around Sims that I want to be happy, after all. No Republicans are allowed in my game. I’ve even deleted the files of prepackaged Sims that give me any kind of Republican vibe…. The friends I do put in the game are people I really like in real life, people I’m happy to be reminded of as my Sim-self jogs through town… My world is much browner and, well, gayer than what I started with. That’s just what happens when you let Sims flirt with whomever they want and marry people who share their interests. But I do occasionally have to add a family I don’t personally know just to decrease the chances of inbreeding: So, the Obamas are in my game. Sasha grew up and married my grandson. I’m buried in their backyard. Frankly, I couldn’t write a better utopian postscript for myself: a founding member of a brown, gay, rainless world that banished Republicans who is buried under the kiddie swing of his progeny…. Sometimes, I just need the terrible world to leave me alone with my doll.” 

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A “Syestemic Racism” Case Study: Diversifyng Stage Management

Stage manager

A study published by the Actors’ Equity Association, the union for both actors and stage managers, revealed that between 2016 and 2019, 76% of stage managers employed on theatrical productions across the country were white. Only 2.63% were Black. Does that mean there is “systemic racism” in the theater world?

Absent a thorough analysis of the path by which individuals enter the field of stage management across the country, there is no justification for concluding that. I assume that the main factors are economic. Theater is an economically impossible pursuit. Those who go into it as a profession are often able to do so because they have financial resources from family or elsewhere that allows them that freedom. African Americans are less likely to have family wealth to support them, and performing has a greater potential for achieving wealth than the behind-the-scenes role of stage manager. As for the performers who, as an actor friend once put it, become actors because they aren’t good at anything else, they are not likely candidates for stage management because stage managers, like any other kind of managers, have to be smart. The theater is, in general, not a profession teeming with smart people. If you are smart, you choose a profession that isn’t financially unsustainable.

To be convinced that the lack of black professional stage managers is caused by racism, I would need to know what the pool of black stage managers is, and whether there are many qualified black stage manager who cannot find jobs. I don’t see that data. If the 2.63% of stage managers who are black represent all or most of the pool, is there a problem? Why? Who cares what color a stage manager is, if the individual knows how to handle the job and does it well?

One issue that the “systemic racism” advocates can’t seem to get their story straight about is the question of how race effects staff and management relations. In a healthy culture, there is no reason why a black stage manager couldn’t successfully oversee a predominantly white cast in a production, or the reverse. However, the racial distrust that the current “antiracism” rhetoric and policies engender almost guarantee conflict in a modern cast where there is racial diversity. Take it from the director of over 200 shows of all sizes and budgets, one thing no production needs is conflict.

Are black stage managers more likely to find racial grievances in a production environment? I don’t know. I wouldn’t be shocked if that was the case, but I will say this: I wouldn’t hire any stage manager of any shade who had a reputation for stirring up controversies. Stage managers exist to solve problems, and to make everything run smoothly. A social justice warrior stage manager? Not on my show.

A factor that is probably at work in keeping down the number of black stage managers is the basic and immutable logic of artistic team building. Successful and experienced producers and directors accumulate a group of people over the course of their work that they enjoy working with and who they believe contribute to their success. They will, in new projects, try to work with those same people. There is nothing wrong or unethical about that. But black directors and producers tend to have regular teams that reflect their social and professional circles, and white directors and producers are the same. Is this racism? I would call it “human nature” or “life.” And the more members of your team that you have no prior experience with, the greater the risk to your production. If I’m taking artistic risks, and I do, I want to minimize organizational risks.

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