Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?


Two Hearts

Following on from Lenny Henry’s recent comments that the media industry needs to be more ethnically diverse, I read this article recently in the DM about the British Film Institute (BFI) setting targets for numbers of female, gay and ethnic minority actors and crew that must be met for film makers to receive BFI funding;

  • New rules issued by British Film Institute, which dishes out £27m a year
  • Film firms must satisfy two out of three categories in ‘Three Ticks’ scheme
  • One says ‘at least 30%’ of supporting actors must positively reflect diversity
  • Another says ‘two Heads of Department’ must have diverse backgrounds
  • Term also applies to working-class and disabled actors, crew and interns

The article is here.

Whilst Lenny Henry and the BFI are, I’m sure, correct that minorities are poorly represented in the media, this approach by BFI got me thinking about the issue of positive discrimination. There is often talk in political circles about all-women short lists for candidates to get more women into politics (note that SHBC has a healthy 35% female representation) or mandating quotas of women on the board of FTSE-100 companies, and while the sentiment and the ultimate aim is a laudable one, I don’t agree with this approach.

Yes we must do more to encourage people into professions where they are under-represented, yes we absolutely must stamp out any form of discrimination against women/ gay/ ethnic minority/ disabled/ etc. in our country and, I believe, name and shame the companies/ organisations that are found to be so discriminatory.

But at the end of the day positive discrimination is still a form of discrimination and, as my Mum always said, two wrongs don’t make a right.





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