In 2014, Stacy L. Smith, introduced the “inclusion rider”. The idea is for movie stars to add inclusion clauses to their contracts, covering both cast and crew.1
Smith doesn’t expect representation to be a panacea. Nothing so simple would make widespread inclusion inevitable. Instead, inclusion riders are an initial goal. Start by increasing diversity among the people who make movies. With time, the types of movies that Hollywood makes might change. Representation might evolve. Movies might contribute to changing our attitudes about equity.
The media we watch, listen to, and read influences us. It affects our decisions, biases, and norms. Which is why it makes sense for each of us to adapt the ideals of the inclusion rider to our own behaviors. All the world’s our movie and we are all auteurs. We weave everything we encounter into our narrative. We make meaning from the people around us and the characters in the media we consume.
Who wrote the books and articles that you read? The music you buy or stream? Who directed and starred in the movies and shows you watch? Whose posts do you follow on forums and social media? A lot of this is data you can track. What you do with this information is up to you.
As a baseline, if you’re in the U.S. and using the inclusion rider’s metrics, that would mean at least:
- 51% Women;
- 40% Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC);
- 26% People with Disabilities;
- 7% Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Aromantic/Agender… (LGBTQIA+).
I tabulated the numbers for the media I have discussed on this website and in my monthly newsletter:
- Reading (books, collections, and individual articles)
- Roll (writers I subscribe to in NetNewsWire)
The percentages are posted beneath each list on this website. Podcasts and Reading are on the Reviews page. Roll has its own page.
I also kept these goals were in my mind as I created other Lists, including 52 current Philadelphians who are doing amazing work and 66 current Cincinnatians who are doing amazing work.
I still have work to do, and I look forward to doing it. I hope you’ll join me.
Frances McDormand plugged inclusion riders in her 2018 Academy Award acceptance speech. ↩︎