The Science Behind Hollywood's Diversity Problem...Also Chris Rock Is An Idiot.

F*** Chris Rock. His comedy's always been problematic as hell from his lame ass "There's a difference betweeen Black people and Ni****s".

(For the record...stop it. I've spent 20 years fighting people who've justified their racism by referencing this garbage).

To making fun of Asians during the Oscars (using kids no less).

To repeating the INCREDIBLY harmful trope of Black people now "not suffering from real racism"...as if the numbers on social disparities are getting better, as if Donald Trump isn't winning incredible support for a hate and fear filled Presidential campaign and as if names like Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Mike Brown aren't household names for the wrong reasons.

To his lame ass trashing of Jada Pinkett and Will Smith. Yeah, yeah, I'm good buddies with her brother...but still, I'm not blinded to the fact that Black women have been at the forefront of driving societal change for Black people (often at great expense to their bodily integrity) since the days of enslavement and newsflash: I'm Black. And the way how people's brains work...that means I'm a Nigger to an awful lot of people until they get to know me. Clearly you see the problem with this?

Chris Rock has always relied on cheap jokes. Maybe he should focus instead on being a better person and better comedian than trashing a woman who RIGHTLY. Spoke up in the name of greater diversity. Representation DOES matter. There's a reason that children who watch TV develop low self esteem...except for white boys.

Maybe it's because of the images portrayed on film? Maybe it's because people internalize messages and pick up societal cues from their environment. As a marketer...I count on this. A multi-Billion dollar industry exists solely because of this fact of human psychology.

Take the new Ghostbusters movie: Brilliant scientist. Brilliant scientist. Brilliant scientist. loud, uneducated woman.

Guess which one's portrayed by the Black woman?

Here. Watch the trailer and be prepared for a surprise.

Not.

Am I reading too much into it? Maybe. Or maybe I recognize that it's fuel for people's implicit biases? I mean...where do you think those societal disparities that sees Black men with no criminal records have the same (or worse!!) employment opportunities as White felons.

Maybe I also recognize it's fuel for "real life violence" (the kind that Chris Rock implies doesn't exist nowadays) especially when it comes to how our justice system works? People's negative anti-Black views are often correlated with their "tough on crime" stances. Except for when that crime is committed by White people...then it's all about "compassion" and "rehabilitation".

And no, it's not because White People™ are eeeevil. Race is a sociological fact. Not a biological one. Interesting quirk of biology...our brains evolved to give the organism the best chance to survive. And as smart as we may be...our brains can be kind of dumb.

U of T published a study that showed White people can't empathize with people of colour. This wasn't based on their opinions. It was based on how their brains worked.

Their brain's mirror-neuron system, the part that shows empathy just didn't fire when seeing POC doing things that other White people do. I'd say that even though the subjects were White people, that this is really just indicative of the brain's "in-group" vs. "out-group" categorizational ability.

"I'm not racist, but..." sound familiar? Or how about "He's just telling it like it is"...

Let's take colour out of it for a minute: Rich people (natch...the ones that were born rich) don't feel sympathy for poor people. There's that pesky brain trying to categorize as best it knows how again. In-group vs. out-group.

There are people that flount these "rules" our brains come up with...and they get placed into the "exception" category. Trust me, I get it all the time. "You're not like BLACK, Black" "You're different...you know what I mean", etc. I don't take it personally, because I understand the science behind it. And hell, I've caught myself doing it too!

Now bring this discussion back to The Oscars. How would someone with an implicit bias they are unaware of be able to properly judge an actors performance...their ability to generate a "feeling" when their brains have been fried by bias and negative anti-Black imagery and tropes their whole life? If they've lived and worked the majority of their lives and Black people have only literally been in the background? What roles have those Black people played? In real life and on film?

Now you see where those pesky "disparities" come from. It's not some dude with an 8*10 of Hitler sitting on his desk. It's the ordinary person who just decides to "go with their gut". So, yeah...fuck Chris Rock's stupid jokes. Jada was right to speak up. Diversity matters. We need a more inclusive, diverse society so that we become better people.

How do we know this to be a scientifically accurate statement? Because the brains mirror-neuron system says so. Imagine how different the story would have went if George Zimmerman saw a kid walking alone in the rain with only a hoodie on and offered him a ride to his mom's house.

KB

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