Weak-minded Inclusion

 

Weak-minded inclusion is defined (by me) as, “inclusion for your own benefit more so than for the benefit of those you include.” It is a watered-down and self-serving subset of “niceness.” The practitioners of this type of “inclusion” focus more on the message projected to the rest of society than on the real human beings within their influence.

Weak-minded inclusion has been perfectly exemplified by the endless litany of professional theater companies who rapidly and sloppily added words like “equity, diversity, and inclusion” to their websites following the case of George Floyd and Derek Chauvin.  

The world of the arts has been a prominent leader in the philosophy of weak-minded inclusion. I remember vividly working at a respected professional theater in New Jersey when the executive team became pointedly obsessed with casting an Asian male (any Asian male) in the leading role of the Doctor in Ionesco’s Exit the King.  They succeeded in the task and wanted to make sure the world knew it. 

In the apprentice company (of which I was a part) in this same theater, there were far too obvious pairings of the non-white actors into subsets to place in the front, a practice some of those actors were well aware of, and quite embarrassed by. The feelings and professional growth of these individual actors were subsidiary to the potential for pats on the back from the theater’s audience, patrons, and each other.

If a theater has cast a black Hamlet, it will become the talking point of the entire production, leaving the actor in a strange and marginalized oblivion while playing perhaps the most coveted role among men (and even women). Who benefits from this type of inclusion?

Of course, we see this happening in multiple other professions as well. When United Airlines announced they wanted to hire 2,500 pilots that are “women or people of color,” they hoped for rapturous applause and accounts of their undying compassion and humanity. What they received instead was a sense of unease from their potential customers.

As a timid (horrified) flyer myself, I was not soothed by the idea of hiring based on immutable characteristics. I, like many, only have one qualifier for my pilots–that they are good at flying planes. An unforeseen (though obvious) consequence will be for flyers to think twice when seeing a female pilot board a United plane, wondering if she is good at her job or just there to meet an arbitrary quota. This, of course, is no service to the female pilots who are completely capable of meeting the requirements of a pilot without United’s “gracious” handouts.

But maybe United will win a Nobel Prize or something. 

Weak-minded inclusion has become most evident among the hordes of white people going to black people for redemption following the recent surge of the Black Lives Matter movement. We all know the type:

  • The well-meaning white people convinced they now need to humble themselves before every person of darker complexion in exchange for an absolution of guilt.
  • The well-meaning white people who are so desperate to not be racist that they begin to repeat the absurd claim that black people need our help to get photo IDs.  
  • The well-meaning white people who lift up violent felons and tell young black children that these are their heroes. 

Not that this benefits the black community. But weak-minded inclusion works for the benefit of oneself, not others. It’s actually a preposterous practice acting as a stand-in for true love and care. It is a seductive ideology that is so celebrated in our society it is confused with truly compassionate and right behavior. 

What is most shocking is that refusal to participate in weak-minded inclusion results in the court of public opinion sentencing you to life as a “hater.” This is the most brilliant tenant of this coercive philosophy, and it makes resistance a hefty task.

Yet, if we aim to be truly and honestly considerate of others, then resist we must.

Published in Culture
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  1. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    Mikayla Goetz: Weak-minded inclusion…

    That goes well with the “conspicuous diversity” I am inundated with every day at work. 

    • #1
  2. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    philo (View Comment):

    Mikayla Goetz: Weak-minded inclusion…

    That goes well with the “conspicuous diversity” I am inundated with every day at work.

    True of every college PR piece. 

    • #2