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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In Iowa, An Unattributed Shout Of “Let Him Hang” Becomes A National Race Incident…

I missed this story; luckily a reader, whom I am not certain whether he wants his name posted, didn’t. He sent it to me, writing in part, “So the catcher [Yes, it’s a baseball story] clapped and the word hang was heard. Both could be explained by the way teams talk to each other to cheer the team on. But it’s presented as if a MAJOR racial incident occurred. A half page article in a major news publication designed to stir animosity.”

That’s exactly what happened, though it wasn’t just the news media, it was all triggered by a mixed-race high school baseball player’s mother who has been conditioned to see racism whether it is in evidence or not. This is another success of the progressive racial outrage project.

Here is what happened, courtesy of the Des Moines Register yesterday. I’m going to interject my analysis as we go along to save time:

“Norwalk Warriors baseball player Ryan Wood was up to bat with three balls and two strikes in a doubleheader against Dallas Center-Grimes on Friday as his mother, Lisa Wood, watched from a seat in the stands. Wood said the DCG pitcher threw a ball into the opposite batter box, “practically in the dirt,” and Ryan, who recently graduated from Norwalk, went to walk to first base. He was halfway there when the umpire called a strike.”

Comment: Typical parent: Ryan’s mom was well up the third base line, but she was certain that she saw the pitch better than the umpire, who was behind the plate and inches away. Baseball players are coached to sometime try to steal a ball four call by starting to walk to first base. Once in a blue moon, it works.

“While Ryan, who is of mixed race, walked back to the plate, Lisa Wood said that DCG’s catcher clapped in her son’s face. “My son strikes out and the catcher yells at him ‘Go sit down,’ …And then somebody — whether it was the catcher or another in the dugout … somebody said, ‘Let him hang.’” Wood said the racial jeer was so loud that all of the parents near the outfield heard it, adding that she was “so shocked” that she turned to her 14-yearold daughter, who was sitting next to her in the stands to confirm what she’d heard.”

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The Unethical Ingredients Of The West Point High School Valedictorian Fiasco, Part II: What’s Going On Here? [Corrected]

Valedictorian

Who are the ethics villains, heroes, fools and otherwise in the West Point High School graduation honors debacle?

Observations:

Number One, and nothing else is even close: If society were capable of looking at human beings as human beings and not as members of teams, groups and tribes, this would have still been a mess, but a much less toxic one. There are groups, political parties, activists, irresponsible scholars and race-hucksters of all kinds who benefit and profit by dividing the United States along racial fault-lines, and they will do it for as long as they can, no matter what harm it does to the nation, families, individuals, institutions, values and the enjoyment of life. This is an example of what we have to dread in greater frequency and damage if we don’t find a way to stifle these villains, for that is what they are.

Related to this are accounts that the president of the local NAACP was elated. This isn’t a team sport: two young women were honored for their achievements, not their race. If it would be offensive for a local group to express pleasure that two white students received an honor, it is equally obnoxious and inappropriate for the NAACP to be making racial comments.

2 If the school counselor was really the culprit who used the wrong standard, he or she needs to go. Yes, the whole school is responsible, including the principal, but if ever a scapegoat was called for, however, this is it. Because of the predictable chain reaction, it was an inexcusable mistake. In Mississippi? In a predominantly black student body? The ethics alarms should have been ringing at ear-splitting volume before the grade calculations ever started. Quite simply, this was a mistake that must not be made.

3. Suspicions that race was a factor in using the wrong standard are inevitable at a time when so many standards are being attacked, eliminated or changed for not yielding the “right” results by the measure of “equity and diversity.” The fact that two black students were elevated above the white ones by the “mistaken” use of the wrong standard under the rules and tradition could have been a coincidence, but the white parents, and objective critics, have every reason to wonder, just as the black parents have every reason to suspect racial bias when the value of their children’s honor was cut in half to satisfy two white families.

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The Unethical Ingredients Of The West Point High School Valedictorian Fiasco, Part I: A Perfect Storm

High school graduation

This ugly episode should not have become another racial controversy, and in a healthy culture it would not. But in 2021 it could not have been otherwise with these facts, and American have to decide if they want to live in a society where this happens, or whether they want something better.

The story is told well here, but the main facts are:

1. Ikeria Washington and Layla Temple were named 2021 valedictorian and salutatorian for West Point High School in Mississippi on Seniors Awards Night. Both are African-American.

2. The parents of two white students in the class, Emma Berry and Dominic Borgioli, objected. They had been carefully calculating their children’s grade point averages, and by their records, Emma and Dominic had earned the honors given to Ikeria and Layla.

3. By the school’s own handbook, they were right. Ikeria and Layla had been awarded the honors based on a calculation of quality point average or Q.P.A.,which calculates grades by giving extra weight to advanced placement and dual credit courses. Dominic and Emma were the top two finishers based on an unweighted grade point average, and according to the rules, it was that distinction, not the Q.P.A., which should have been used to decide the class’s valedictorian and salutatorian. A school counselor charged with ranking the class had made a mistake and used the wrong standard…or at least that’s the school’s story.

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Déjà Vu: On The Response To The Winston”Boogie”Smith Shooting

Smith riots

That the latest black shooting victim being used to justify rioting in Minneapolis had the same name as the doomed protagonist in “1984” supports a friend’s theory that a Supreme Being is just using us for his own amusement. But the latest set of reflex rioting—the rule is that if a black suspect/criminal/alleged criminal is killed by police under any circumstances, there must be riots—tells us more than that. It confirms what should have been evident quite a while ago: this process is social extortion, or, if you prefer, domestic terrorism. The aim is to threaten and punish innocent citizens and vilify police using the presumption of racism as an excuse, so that there can be virtually no enforcement of the law against African-Americans at all. “Black Lives Matter,” always a deceitful bit of rhetorical dishonesty, has now completely morphed into Facts Don’t Matter for anyone to see who is bold enough to accept the ugly truth.

Who was Winston Smith? He was convicted in 2017 in the assault and robbery of his ex-girlfriend and sentenced to two years in prison. The sentence was suspended for three years, on the condition that “Boogie” didn’t break more laws. Of course, he did. As a convicted felon, Smith was prohibited from owning or having a firearm. He was charged with illegally possessing a gun in 2019. The U.S. Marshals Service said in a statement that its task force was trying to arrest Smith on a state warrant for illegal possession of a firearm last week. When law enforcement tried to take him into custody from a parked car on the top level of a parking ramp, he “failed to comply with officers’ commands” and “produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject.” Task force members took life-saving measures, but Winston Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

A woman who was also in the car was treated for minor injuries from broken glass. “Evidence at the scene indicates that the man fired his weapon from inside the vehicle. BCA crime scene personnel recovered a handgun as well as spent cartridge cases from inside the driver’s compartment,” the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement.

The big problem here is that was no video. For some reason the U.S. Marshals Service does not allow body cameras for officers on the task force. An investigation is ongoing; at this point, everything is based on what we have been told. Maybe Smith didn’t have a gun. Maybe the gun the investigators found had “Hasbro” on it; maybe they planted it. Maybe he had his hands up, and shouted “Don’t shoot!” or “I can’t breathe!” I don’t know, and neither do the rioters. The difference is that they are rioting and I’m not. All that matters to them is that the police killed a black man, and they want to make sure that officers never do that again, which will be a great help to black criminals. Smith’s conduct doesn’t matter; whether he shot at the marshals doesn’t matter. If police end up killing a black man, they are at fault, the system is at fault, white America is at fault, and people have to be hurt. That’s the script now. After all, it’s worked so far.

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The Rest Of The Story, From The Ethics Alarms “What An Idiot!” Files: Mayor Lighfoot’s Justification For Her Racial Discrimination

That was Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “defense” of her action yesterday announcing that she would only do interviews with black and other non-white colored reporters. Once again, I am tempted to leave this letter from Chicago Mayor Lightfoot free of any further commentary from me, since what makes it not just unethical but a stunning demonstration of so many other deficits on her part should be screamingly, stenchingly, head-explodingly obvious. Maybe I should, in my respect for readers here who I assume can recognize the trail of a toxic dolt when they see one, just let what is res ipsa loquitur “speak for itself.” I feel like the Duke, trying to stay calm when provoked in “McClintock!” and reaching the same moment of surrender:

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Horrifying Tales From “The Great Stupid”

Horror comics

  • This month ,two black Penn State University professors reported a “noose” in a tree behind their home The PSU student newspaper Daily Collegian quoted the professors said the “noose” was “deliberately placed [on the tree] to harass them” and was “deeply distressing to them and their family.” PSU President Eric Barron quickly posted a statement “expressing concern” about the incident and “offering support,” adding,

    “[T]he incident underscores the importance of our anti-racism work as a University, and as a community of scholarsIt also underscores the importance of our town-gown work to build a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all who live here. Groups like Community & Campus in Unity that have formed the Centre Region Anti-bias Coalition are critical to helping create a climate of acceptance and support.”

    When police interviewed the professors’ neighbor, they learned that the “noose”  was part of a swing set. The neighbors’ kid told police he had thrown the rope “into the woods.” Police concluded  “no kind of crime [was] committed at all” and that the rope was not intentionally used to suggest a noose, or any racist statement.

  • But things could be worse, as in Scotland. There,  Lisa Keogh, a mother of two and a law student at Abertay University, faces discipline for saying that women are born with vaginas and are physically weaker than men. Keogh was taking part in a virtual discussion on “gender feminism and the law” and was discussing transgender women participating in women’s sports, Keogh also said her classmates were “man-hating feminists” after a peer stated that all men were rapists.“I didn’t deny saying these things and told the university exactly why I did so,” Keogh said. “I didn’t intend to be offensive but I did take part in a debate and outlined my sincerely held views. I was abused and called names by the other students, who told me I was a ‘typical white, cis girl’. You have got to be able to freely exchange differing opinions otherwise it’s not a debate.”

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More On The “Anti-Asian Hate” Wave

tsunami

The “wave of anti-Asian hate” narrative is quickly transitioning into a Big Lie, and like so many of the Big Lies that have their origins in the desire to crush Donald Trump and his followers, this one is being eagerly aided and abetted by the news media.

What’s going one here? The news media sees it as advantageous to the fortunes of its beloved Democratic Party to make certain that Asian-Americans line up with the collections of aggrieved groups that give the progressives their mojo, particularly in the demonizing of whites. The fact that a disproportionate number of the attacks on Asian-Americans have been perpetrated by African-Americans is inconvenient, so the news stories just don’t mention that. Since Donald Trump is the imaginary vendetta’s official source—he’s a racist, see (See Big Lies of the Resistance #4) and insisted on calling the pandemic virus that originated in China a Chinese virus—the alleged “hate crimes” are based on white supremacy.

Jeez, try to keep up, will ya?

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Trevor Noah Provides A Perfect Example Of How Comedians Make The Public Stupid And Irresponsible…But Woke!

Noah

Personally, I blame Jon Stewart. The former host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” was quick, clever and smug enough to convince a lot of younger, lazy Americans that they could become civically literate by watching a comedy show, thus being entertained while learning about current events and how to have the “right’ opinions about them. Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Noah, Jimmy Kimmel (yecchh), Bill Maher (gag) and all of the other left-leaning clowns and jokers have a right to their opinions and to spout them at will, but nobody should think that any of them possess such remarkable insight that they should be influential opinion-makers. Indeed, their opinions are approximately as authoritative as a gas station attendant or the average taxi driver.

Throughout American history, there have been the occasional wise wags whose satirical takes on current events prompted thought as well as mirth—Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Mort Sahl, and a few others. Never before, however, have there been so many pretenders to that class who not only are taken seriously by the young, but who also take themselves seriously, far more seriously than their intellects, training and experience justifies. During the Trump administration, this trend became actively destructive, but many crtics even expressed concern during Stewart’s reign, as surveys showed that a frightening number of people used “The Daily Show” as their primary news source. This makes approximately as much sense as using SNL’s “Weekend Update” for that purpose.

Or CNN.

Kidding!

(Sort of.)

Trevor Noah, Stewart’s cuter but equally smug successor on Comedy Central, provided us with a neon-bright example of how damaging these fake authorities can be. The topic was the mass killings at two Atlanta-area massage parlors that left eight people dead earlier this week. Six of the eight women were Asian-Americans, but the motive behind the shootings is murky. Police arrested a suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long yesterday. Long reportedly told investigators that he had a sexual addiction and saw the businesses as a temptation he needed to eliminate. (This makes slightly more sense than “Son of Sam” saying he was instructed by a dog, but you know: mass murderers.) Never mind what he says, the race-baiters that make up much of the Democratic Party decided that this was another opportunity that couldn’t be missed.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), a member of “The Squad,” tweeted yesterday,

“8 lives were violently stolen. We stand in solidarity & deep compassion w/ our AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] family in Georgia & across the country. Racism, misogyny, & white supremacy are a threat to all of our communities, and we must call out the targeted, violent attacks on our AAPI neighbors.”

Other “of color” elected Democrats followed the script. Showing that, so far at least, there are some depths to which they will not stoop, both Speaker Pelosi and President Biden declined to call the attacks a “hate crime,” saying that the motive is unclear. It is, but the fact that the killer himself says he was trying to kill sex workers creates the rebuttable presumption that race was not motive.

Trevor Noah, however, launched a hilarious riff on the tragedy. I jest: there was nothing funny about it, but who is better qualified to analyze the social roots of a U.S. incident than a South African high school grad who has engaged in nothing except comedy since he was 18 and who has shown no interest in becoming an American citizen?

Here is Noah’s rant:

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George Washington’s Birthday Ethics Warm-Up, 2/22/21: Happy Birthday, George! We’re Sorry Your Country Has Become Populated With So Many Ignorant, Ungrateful Fools…

portrait_of_george_washington

If there is any American whose birthday should be a national holiday, it is George Washington, born this day in 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. If I have to tell you the reasons he was “the essential man” in American history, well, I guess you’re the product of our current public school system, a recent college graduate, a Democrat, a Black Lives Matter enthusiast, or something. There is no rational excuse for every American, yes, even African-Americans, to not be grateful for this day. Martin Luther King is now the only individual to have a national holiday dedicated to his honor, while Washington’s memory was dumped into a hodge-podge of lesser figures including Franklin Pierce, William Henry Harrison and now, Donald Trump. King is worthy of his day, but to honor King over Washington is as good an example of “putting the cart before the horse” as one could find. Shame on us. True, George is not lacking honors, with the capital city named for him, a towering monument, cities and towns in many states, Mt. Rushmore, and his image on both the most-used bill and coin. Nonetheless he earned all of it, and this date should be a holiday.

On The Ethics Alarms home page, you will see to your right a link to the list of ethical habits some historians believe made Washington the remarkably trustworthy and ethical man he was, ultimately leading his fellow Founders to choose him, and not one the many more brilliant, learned and accomplished among them, to take on the crucial challenge of creating the American Presidency. Directed to do so by his father, young Washington copied out by hand and committed to memory a list called “110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”  It was  based on a document compiled by French Jesuits in 1595; neither the authors nor the English translator and adapter are known today. The elder Washington was following the teachings of Aristotle—another Dead White Man whom most Americans alive today couldn’t tell you Jack S-word about— who held that principles and values began as being externally imposed by authority (morals) and eventually became internalized as character. As I wrote when I first posted them here,

The theory certainly worked with George Washington. Those ethics alarms installed by his father stayed in working order throughout his life. It was said that Washington was known to quote the rules when appropriate, and never forgot them. They did not teach him to be a gifted leader he became, but they helped to make him a trustworthy one.

Would that readers would access that list more often. And politicians. And lawyers. And educators…

1. How ignorant and ungrateful? THIS ignorant and ungrateful

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