Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
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Effie Brown and Matt Damon -- Damon Missed the Point Utterly
This is the link to go to to view a brief discussion of diversity between Matt Damon and movie director Effie Brown (who is a dark-skinned African American woman).
     Effie Brown and Matt Damon were on the panel for an episode of "Project Greenlight," in which established directors view movie projects by first-time directors. 
     Brown commented that in one movie, the only black character was a prostitute who gets slapped by her white pimp. She began to say that whoever directed that movie would need to film that part very sensitively, and she mentions more broadly the issue of diversity.
     Damon misses the point completely. He totally misses what happens when a member of one group sees another member of that group very negatively portrayed, especially when that member is (perhaps inadvertently) singled out as the only representative of the group in a film.
     Damon indicates that diversity is not an issue when considering directors. Brown reacts, "Wow!" with evident shock -- and I don't know what happens between her and Damon subsequently, as the clip from the episode is very short. But what is important to me is how completely Damon misunderstood what Brown was saying. He didn't respond to Brown's words at all. He hopped to the issue of deciding how to respect the diversity of the U.S. population, and basically says that he would not consider diversity when choosing to support a director, but only merit. He misses Brown's incredibly important point: How a director HANDLES diversity should be a hugely important factor in deciding a film's merit.
     Damon's response shows the type of thinking that is a fundamental element of systemic racism: missing the message coming from a member of a group that doesn't happen to be as predominant as his group, which means the foundational racism will remain unaddressed, while Damon' thinking beclouds the problem.

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