Michael Kaiser, of the Kennedy Center, on diversity:
"I have been spending a great deal of time thinking about the issue of diversity in the arts, specifically, the drive to diversify the programming and constituents of all arts organizations.
The more I consider this thorny issue, the less I am convinced that the arts world has worked hard enough to dissect the true costs, benefits and implications of recent diversity efforts.
Having spent a great deal of my career working with arts organizations of color, I am as committed as anyone to the diversity of our arts ecology. I do not believe that we can have a truly great artistic community if all segments of our society are not represented well.
But I do not think I believe anymore in forcing Eurocentric arts organizations to do diverse works or to put one minority on a board." (emphasis added)
If I ever see Kaiser I'm going to kiss him just for saying that . . . and I don't care how he feels about said kiss . . . he deserves it.
I touched on this in my "Gravity" post but Kaiser says it better then I ever could.
Part of embracing diversity is accepting people's choice not to be diverse.
Many people, myself included, believe that for the arts to thrive now you should probably build an organization that attracts a wide range of people.
But if someone doesn't want to do that, for whatever reason, we have to be mature enough as an industry to go "that's ok."
Few things are more painful then watching an organization try to jam an African-American or Latina artist into their lineup in a transparent attempt to be diverse.
It's bad for them, bad for the artist and insulting to audiences of all colors.
They shouldn't have to engage in such measures if they don't want to.
Now let me be clear, I think refusing to embrace the diverse and interesting world we live in is just dumb.
But if they do, it's their choice and we should respect that.
Embrace the ones that want to reflect the world. Let the other ones work things out on their own.