Critical Mass: USC Professor Calls For Film Critics To Be Selected By Race and Gender

download-3University of Southern California Associate Professor of Communication  Stacy L. Smith has written a report entitled “Critic’s Choice?” with USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative which discussed the problem that film critics are “largely white and male.” The solution appears to be the selection of critics based on their race and gender — as opposed to simply their talent and writing — to achieve “inclusion among film reviewers.”  We previously discussed a Canadian gender quota for directors.

Smith and her co-authors conclude that “on screen and behind the camera in film, Hollywood is predominantly ‘pale and male.'”  They insist that “[t]he consequences of this skewed representation must be considered.”  They recommend that “several entities can take concrete steps to implement solutions to increase the number of female and underrepresented critics.” They further call for journalism schools to increase the number of women and students of color to broaden the pool of critics and to “educat[e] future critics around issues of diversity and representation  . . . as these individuals can use their platform to draw attention to ongoing disparities on screen and behind the camera.”


This sounds like a thinly veiled quota system based on race and gender if newspapers are to meet the specified “inclusion” goals.  As with the quota system for directors, it ignores the artistic and journalistic elements in both directing and writing.  As part of the arts, such roles should be dictated not by immutable physical characteristics but by talent and vision.  For critics, there is a market of readers who tend to follow critics who are viewed as insightful and fun to read.  The effort to inject race and gender criteria does precisely what so many worked so long to combat in the arts and other fields.

What do you think?

59 thoughts on “Critical Mass: USC Professor Calls For Film Critics To Be Selected By Race and Gender”

  1. What matters the most – talent and wisdom or gender, sexual orientation, and skin color?

    Liberals, in general, believe the latter. There is a value system by which all are judged by criteria they have no control over.

    I think that’s not fair at all.

    There is a narrow field in which such characteristics matter. For instance, I support using authenticated Native Americans for Native American roles in film. For decades, they would stick a white guy with a bad accent in some paint and a bad wig, and call him Indian. Ridiculous. Marketing is another field where a diversity of communities would be very beneficial in the think tank.

    Other than such limited fields of focus, however, such superficial characteristics do not matter. Yes, I call race superficial. There is so much more to someone’s identity than the color of their skin. The Left is making race everything that matters, which leads to racist thinking. Any value scale on race is inherently racist.

    I think race is one of the least interesting aspects of a person. I care more about their character, personality, conversation, and if it’s a working relationship, what they bring to the table. Say there is an outbreak of some plague. It’s gone global and has breached our borders. The CDC is tasked with coming up with a complete plan, from containment and quarantine, sampling, care, and control. What’s the vector? Bacterial, viral, or something else? Any class of pharmaceutical effective? You’re assembling your team. The higher ups want you to make sure you pick 3 black people, 4 Latinos, and make sure not to choose any Asians. They’re over-represented in the sciences. Would the racial makeup do your team a dang bit of good? Or would you want a diversity of strengths, talents, and ways of thinking to tackle this problem?

    I have a son. I would hate to think that the Left believes he deserves to be turned down for university, employment, or general success in life for no other reason than his gender and race. I actually had a relative tell me that my sweet son was born racist because he’s a white male. And she believed it and informed me with the utmost sincerity. This is such crazy racist thinking.

    1. If Martin Luther King, Jr arrived on the scene today, he would be pilloried by the Left. Judged on the content of your character is too close to All Lives Matter.

    2. There would have never been a Siskel and Ebert under Progressive rule.

      This is so sad and misguided.

      What bothers me is that Progressives are defined by desiring social change through government fiat. Liberals want such change through tax and spend. Oftentimes the two are combined. If Progressives get into power, such racist value systems will be encoded into law.

      Other suggestions over the past few years is to require people to sell their homes to minority buyers, instead of the highest bidder. The latter makes the matter color blind and just. The former puts a value skin deep.

  2. Its so sad that we’ve come to the point in our country where everything is about gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. The thought used to be that if you want to break into an industry or profession, you worked hard to distinguish yourself. Now, the expectation is that you will get the job, position, etc, based on the color of your skin, or gender you identify with. Out with experience, performance and excellence. This approach is racism pure and simple. So whoever the powers that be will now give you a job or grant you access because of your color and/or gender…how demeaning to the person. Unfortunately, we are inculcating a generation of folks who believe that what they attain in life should be about those characteristics, not based upon innate skills and abilities.

  3. William F Buckley was right.

    “I’d rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”


  4. Doesn’t the concept of choosing an individual on their race, color, sexual orientation, etc, frankly, any personal characteristic destroy the reasons for color blind standards?

    1. Create a problem that doesn’t exist, then build an industry around it, and reap the profits! Genius!

  5. Maybe it’s my advancing age, maybe it’s creeping dementia to rest in the simplicity of being aware how phucking idiotic and deranged so called “educators” are becoming, particularly on the Left Coast. Maybe the modifier should be desperate. Desperate for for relevance and meaning.

  6. Meritorious achievements require that the meritorious achiever not be under extreme emotional stress. If one has all of his/her basic human needs met, it is far easier to offer meritorious achievement than if one is also suffering from poverty and prejudice. This is why steps are needed to support those who were not born into privileged conditions.

    1. Very few people were ‘born into privileged conditions’, the distribution of social backgrounds among women does not differ from that of men, and most blacks aren’t particularly impecunious compared to other Americans and are not at all when compared to South Koreans or Spaniards.

      1. How about backing up that final remark? The few South Koreans that I know aren’t lacking for funds.

        1. Real per capita income levels are in South Korea about 1/3 lower than those in the United States.

          1. Yes, and the same is approximately true for blacks versus whites+asians in the USA.

            1. Some ethnic groups are more affluent than others. Why is this a problem?

                1. 1. There was no false statement.

                  2. What I said at 9:12 does not contradict anything I said at 9:04.

                  Time for activities therapy, David. We’re making trivets today.

    2. We’ve spent $trillions and engaged in affirmative action over the last 50 years to do just that. What are we to do now – set the police to monitor what people read so that they read more things written by marginalized groups?

    3. Chris – Aesop was a slave. Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who never lost a single passenger she guided on the Underground Railroad. I would say that both delivered meritorious achievement under great emotional stress.

      The problem is that the highest risk factor for a child to be any of the following: poor, drop out of school, join a gang, commit crimes, go to jail, be murdered, is to be born out of wedlock to a single mother with an absentee father. The statistics are worse than those who are simply divorced but receive support from the father. It is statistically indisputable. However, single motherhood is the norm in many neighborhoods. It’s heartbreaking for everyone involved. So fix the problem.

      The solution is to offer the best education possible regardless of income level. For areas with high rates of single motherhood, have talks at the school about what you give up when you become a single mother, and the risks to the child. Create safe after school programs. Homework help. Do anything you can to produce high school graduates who are college ready and academically competent. Give PSA speeches at every high school in the country about the statistically likely outcome for out of wedlock children. Teach girls to demand more for themselves, boys to stick around as fathers, and give everyone a quality education.

      Lowering the bar is not a solution, and in fact gives a very bad reputation to the recipients.

      I am all for paying it forward, rather than being sorry for success.

      1. Scholarships given on the basis of financial need and merit alone are the most fair. Anyone of any race can qualify if they need it, and have earned it.

        Quotas are unfair. Lowering the bar is racist, as it implies that the recipient cannot earn it through merit, plus it takes a place away from someone who did earn it.

  7. Yes, there is some work for film critics. Yes, the film industry has been dominated by white males. So are most business sectors.

    1. It is ironic that Democratic policies have driven a lot of the film industry out of Hollywood. Much of filming has fled the state. They film in Georgia and New Zealand. The really big budget films can afford to work here, but the lower budget works are most often filmed elsewhere. They save too much money to do otherwise. Or there are people who sneak and film on the sly without permits. We get those a lot in our rural areas.

      Now they are busily dismantling the film critic industry, as well, in the name of inclusivity. If you want to be tolerant and inclusive, then don’t make gender or race a qualifying or disqualifying criteria.

  8. I always wonder if people like this chick Stacy would be in favor of “whitening” the NBA? Yes, short white guys might not be as good and the product might suffer, but just imagine how wonderful it would be for that stumpy white kid thinking, “I have a chance to be an NBA star”.

    1. Jim22 – I have contended that the NBA must reflect the actual racial makeup of the USA. Now, I realize this is going to cause some black to be released from their contracts, but it is important to the country. Same with the NFL. They need more Hispanics and they cannot be just bench sitters or kickers.

    2. Why, yes, such calculus should be universally applied if it will be applied at all. Fire enough minority NBA and NFL players, so that it accurately represents the population distribution. Make Hockey more tan. Fire most of the female teachers and replace them with males, heck, lower the bar like the Limbo if you have to get male elementary school teachers. It needs to be about 50/50.

      Interview panels are going to have hilarious prep time. Oh, no! We have to strike the next Einstein from the physicist position because we have too many white men already? Dang. Not the right color. Do we have any black transgender people? Hmmmm, Asian transgender? Do we really need another Asian? Can she identify with another race, perhaps?

  9. Anyone can be a critic. There are no entry barriers such as degrees or examinations or hiring panels. If you want to be a film critic, pick up a pen or sit down at your keyboard and critique. It’s easy. I am doing it now.

  10. One has to wonder how much we can reduce the cost of students’ tuition by removing from the faculty roster expensive professors of useless fields of study for which there is no actual employable skill other than academia.

    Just because an academic commands high accolades by producing large numbers of papers, speeches, and honorary titles, it does not necessarily mean the information they generate has utility.

    If we handed out doctorates in cryptozoology instead of her field, the contribution to society would be probably the same but at least it would be more entertaining reading about jackalopes and fearsome creatures and a lot less inflammatory.

    1. Darren Smith – there is a tire store near me with a stuffed jackalope. Here in the Southwest, we know they are real.

    2. I suspect if you examine it, the cost issues in higher education are the sum of tiny things. Tiles in a mosaic.

    3. Yes. Let’s reduce the cost of tuition by sacking all the professors of basket weaving and black women in porn studies. Most of what’s publish today is never cited in a single other paper, ever. It’s garbage that publications just churn through.

      Is it academically useful, and are graduates employable, should be a criteria for offering the class.

      At least the cryptozoologists would make better reality TV while on their searches in swamps and forests.

      Which reminds me, whoever created the show “Naked and Afraid” or naked survivor, or whatever else they call it should be rolled in honey and left on an ant hill. In summer. In Arizona.

      1. Karen S – I always wondered if that woman got a grant to buy her porn for “Brown Sugar”? 😉

        1. Oh, God. Or did she expense it? The woman we recently discussed on the blog who got caught for embezzling from her Victoria Secrets purchases should have thought that. You know…research.

            1. Might as well try for the grant. It’s only more time and money to waste.

  11. Sooo, ask yourself this question. Among the people who Stacy spends the majority of her time, who among those people is going to disagree with her??? Because no matter how stupid this crap is to normal people, it is Holy Writ to the Liberal Left Democrats. It is as plain and obvious to them as the Theory Of Transmogrification is to Catholics. This kind of syrupy pablum is a 16 ounce rib eye to the Left.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  12. Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    Yet another attempt by ‘progressives’ to take us to a new dark age of turgid politically sound films,media,arts and literature. Oh, I forgot we had them Nazism and Stalinism. How apt this occurs now in the era of alt facts, fake news and academic repression by progressives in the name of free speech. Soon we see HUAC stalking the land and the compilation of a white and male list.
    Truly we see the return of the Bourbons.

  13. How many stupid ideas from obscure professors is enough? Here’s a thought: how about we don’t publish this stupid, racist, mysoginistic verbal vomit and hence deny it the platform it so richly doesn’t deserve? I’m tiring of fools.

    1. “It is a sobering fact that some 90% of papers that have been published in academic journals are never cited. Indeed, as many as 50% of papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, referees and journal editors.”

      The flakes write their papers not to advance understanding, but to advance their career. Higher ed, sadly, seems to have become a scam.

  14. Let’s rename the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the “Academy of Politically-Correct Participation Awards in Film” (I’m just too tired to make that a funny acronym tonight).

    Since we’re not honoring achievement any longer.

  15. Well the plus is this individual has just dropped a dime one whomever agrees as blatant latent and impotent racists and sexists along with anyone who approves of their blithering idiocies

  16. It is not thinly veiled. It is loud and proud. Rottentomatoes allows public reviews as well as paid critics, so you have both scores. IMDb is all public reviews, some from very knowledgeable people about the film. The critics should not come out of journalism school, they should come out of film school. Personally, I do not look at the reviews until after I have seen the film, although I do look at the scores to see if I am going to go to the film.

    1. The problem with IMDb is that it can be and has been gamed by either hard-core fans or indie producers’ staff (as happened with “Iron Sky”, identically-worded firewall-positive reviews posted not just twice, but several times from various accounts). .

      Fortunately, bad critics won’t drive good critics out of the market of ideas. People learn fast who they can trust on films.

      “Critic’s Choice” is unintentionally dismissive of women and people of color in assuming that their proposals will change the quality of film criticism in America. I remember Pauline Kael and Pat Collins, and to be honest, don’t think their gender influenced their film criticism at all. But “Critic’s Choice” seems to want an lobby for their ideas of what gender and ethnic equality in journalism.

      I’ve already switched from broadcast news to reading news feeds from wire services, because the wire services often lapse and report objectively, which broadcast news rarely does these days. If the proposals in “Critics’ Choice” are adopted, it just means a while new swath of journalism for me to ignore.

      1. loupgarous – there was talk that RottenTomatoes was deleting negative reviews for The Black Panther. There was enough talk that I think it was true. However, I thought if you shut your mind off, it was a decent movie. 😉 Any system can be gamed. Netflix took off the rating system for Amy Schumer so she wouldn’t end in the basement.

        The biggest problem is that most of the people are reviewers, not critics. They really do not understand the film or the history of film. They do not understand editing, sound, cinematography, sfx, makeup, costuming, etc.

    1. Not to mention the Princeton PhD in Sociology that claimed complete with book, speeches and TV appearances the Declaration of Independence was forged therefore she had the right to change The Constitution. It all hinged on the follow contained in parentheisis ( . — ) a well known printers punctuation to indicate the material following had a certain specific relationship to the material preceding. Had she had a useful education, or even called upon the English Department..- but alas and alack failed to do so.

      Although I don’t think she gave the money back for her writings and speeches ….so much for the value of a PhD and Professorship at Princeton

      1. Danielle Allen. The punctuation was correct Allen’s cognizance of English Grammer was woefully insufficent.

    2. I worked with a millennial who didn’t believe we went to the moon. This is how stupid this kid was, one, I knew his arguments better than he did and two, he said, “Well, if we did go, how come we never went back?”. Yes, he actually said that.

      1. This actuallyb happened also. Before it was known Barry Bonds’ career was chemically enhanced an idiot who didn’t like Bonds dismissed his 74 HR season by pointing out he only did it once.

    3. He’s a sociology professor. And he doesn’t use quantitative methods. The major surprise is his kookery covers the waterfront.

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