Inclusion riders are nice in theory, but listening to Natalie Portman talk about them makes one thing very clear: The system is a lot more messed up than people realize and an inclusion rider may not be the only thing that can fix it.
The common argument against them is that you should hire based on talent, not gender/race/sexuality/or any other factor, but the problem with that mindset is that there is a systemic belief that the talent of women and people of color is inherently less than that of white men.
Talking with Deadline, Portman pointed out why it is both important to have inclusion riders and why Hollywood is still reluctant to the change it desperately needs:
“There is a resistance because I think a lot of people are making the argument that you’re hiring someone for their talent, not for their gender. It goes to show that we have so much bias in not recognizing talent and allowing it to express itself.”
The problem is that the “talent” people are seeing is inextricably linked to an internalized bias in those doing the hiring. If any person from a marginalized community wants a job, they’re scrutinized in a way that their white male counterparts aren’t, because our culture is still inherently unbalanced in many ways.
That isn’t to say that anyone wants these jobs out of pity, and Portman points that out:
“Of course, no one wants to get a job because of their marginalization, you want to get the job because of your talent. But there are so many who don’t get the opportunity since they are marginalized, and there are those who actually appreciate others’ values, talent, and voices.”
We’re seeing a change, but it’s gradual, and it shouldn’t be this hard. Sure, part of the argument is that those who are applying don’t have the experience, but … we can’t have the experience if we don’t get the jobs in the first place. It’s important that those with power in Hollywood speak up, and that includes men, like Michael B. Jordan, adding inclusion riders in their companies to make sure that they’re part of the change.
We have to make the change we want to see, and it helps having people like Natalie Portman leading the charge. It isn’t going to be easy but slowly, and surely, Hollywood is starting to look a bit better.
(image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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