NYC to study — and correct? — diversity of audiences at operas, ballets, etc.

NYC to study — and correct? — diversity of audiences at operas, ballets, etc.

In an article last year, I whimsically asked the question “Who’s ready to desegregate organized sports in favor of white athletes?” The question was tongue-in-cheek, intended to highlight the absurdity of imposing racial quotas on professional sports, several of which (think basketball) are already heavily skewed toward black athletes.

The ethnic balance in sports — and in sports fandom, for that matter — seeks its own level. Data collected in 2010 by Scarborough Sports Marketing (and reported in Sports Business Daily) determined that between 77.6% and 78.4% of NBA fans are white. I for one was surprised to learn that the percentage of black fans is equal to or (more likely) less than 22.4%. But is that a problem?

A new study commissioned by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio suggests it might be. According to the New York Post, “the mayor has commissioned a study that will examine the ethnic, racial and gender makeup of” the “board, staff, audience and the like” within the city’s cultural institutions that receive some sort of city funding. This includes museums, orchestras, and other performance centers.

Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl is quoted as saying the data will not be used to impose quotas or deny funding for groups found to be insufficiently diverse. But in that case, what is the point of the study?

An bigger question is why any of this matters in the first place. The Post notes:

It is simply unrealistic to expect that every arts institution’s audience will mirror the city’s population. Different cultural events appeal to different people. Some will attract primarily audiences of color; others will not.

The fascination with breaking down walls and ceilings is seldom explained. The left is fond of couching this in terms of need: “We need a black this or a female that.” In this case, the mayor hasn’t even taken his “thinking” (if that is the correct term) that far. How can this expenditure be justified as anything other than a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money?

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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