Sunday, May 22, 2011

Our Problem, However, Has Never Been With Who's Invited...

 ... It's been with who isn't.  -John Edwin Mason

John Edwin Mason feels a lot better this weekend, in fact we all should. Thanks in large part to his efforts, Look3, a major photo festival, has pledged to make the effort to diversify and become more inclusive of the racial make up of its presenters. And so the question remains- why have private arts organizations, particularly those in photography (the ones I am personally more familiar with) been so neglectful and seemingly reluctant to diversify their personnel? Why are the Staff and Contributors of FOAM, or the judging panels of major publications so much more inclusive of women, and yet here we are in the 21st century, and in many cases, these organizations are absent of even the mere racial tokenism initiated in the sixties? What can possibly explain such a vast discrepancy?

Could it be that since we see so many people of color depicted in photographs (thanks in large part to the white photographers who are paid and awarded to take them), that that alone somehow magically balances the equation? Could it be that people have somehow forgotten that going beyond their own comfort zone is a key to basic creativity and development? Or could it be that "the arts" are not the liberal, feel good and inclusive bastion one has long been led to believe (2nd to last para, before comments)?

Some are finally starting to awake from their slumber of apathy, neglect and reluctance- others, not so much...

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