Does diversity out of obligation temporarily or genuinly liberate minority groups?

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when a headline caught my eye regarding something about Disney casting a black actress to portray Ariel in the live-action remake. Although many people did comment some praise and lauded Disney for trying so hard to be more inclusive and represent minorities that have largely been left out of their platform, historically speaking, many other users commented on their distaste about the PR decision. Many people were commenting on how diversity should never be made out of "pity" or "obligation". What do you guys think? I think this topic has definitely been introduced before but I’d like to read an in-depth article about it. Do we have to feel the need to replace media/popular culture figures with minorities or do we just need more figures that represent those groups?

  • Instead of genuinely diversifying the Disney brand by creating new original black characters, they take an existing white one and that black character then becomes tokenized. This has happened before with the beloved classic Annie with the remake in 2015, in the comics, Ironman is replaced with a black girl Ironheart. Of course they make money regardless, the question then becomes: is it ethical or morally right to initallly replace a white chracter in hopes to make them equal, even if the new chracter has no sense of individuality and has a pressure to be like the chracter they replaced? – Amelia Arrows 4 years ago
  • I totally agree with your point about individuality- It questions whether the replacement even really identifies with the character they're replacing. Superficial diversity maybe is a good name for this lol. – hilalbahcetepe 4 years ago
  • Great topic! It's not just Disney, either. As a member of two minority groups (disabled female), I've seen plenty of attempts at "diversity" that just scream, "We did this so we can check it off the list." This is, in fact, especially true in kids' media. However, kids' media doesn't actually respect diversity and culture. It's more like, "Be nice to this person even though they are 'different' from you, or explicitly because they are different from you." Ugh. – Stephanie M. 4 years ago
  • I would think it might be easier to focus on one particular group (African American girls, for example) or franchise (Marvel products, for example) rather than do a broad sweep of multiple examples of said tokenism. I agree in some ways -- by focuses on checking identities off a list, sometimes creators fail to actually represent a true, authentic experience for someone of that identity. We need more original work that highlights people of various identities, and we need to do better as a society to uplift creators belonging to those identities so that their work -- which will represent a truer experience of that identity -- will be seen. – Eden 4 years ago

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