Monday, February 29, 2016

#OscarsSoWhite and Lebanon's parliamentary women's quota

We all know the #OscarsSoWhite and the Chris Rock monologue and the "you realize if they nominated hosts. I wouldn't even get this job. So y'all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now." But the whole furore made me ask - how does one solve such an issue. Diversification? What does it mean? Including more latin, black academy members to vote for films that do not feature black actors because they were not cast? Or making more films with black actors, just for the sake of a possible inclusion in the academy awards, no matter what the quality of those movies would be and then including these actors in the academy awards would be an act of pity above all else?vWhat if there was a quota, or ration to nominate whomever actor of "different skin tone" in all major categories - whether the academy members want it or not!
That debate made me remember the women's quota in the parliament in Lebanon, a 25% ratio come hell or high water. On which basis? Due to what political affiliation? Where would one put Sethrida Geagea - as a de facto member or the politburo of the Lebanese Forces? As a surrogate to her husband who can no longer run due to previous issues with the law? As a woman in that quota? As a pity win?
I do not claim to have answers, as affirmative action would have taught us already, there is no magic in numbers. But what if, out of the famous or infamous quota there emerges a brilliant jurist, a charismatic leader, who otherwise would only be there just because of that inclusion, and who could never have been in the spotlight under different circumnstances. What if indeed?

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