Thursday, 16 June 2016

How urgent is diversity?

In an earlier post, I talked about the League of American Orchestra national conference, which I was at last week, for one of its three days.

The subject of the conferernce, as I said, was diversity. I went to one panel discussion of that, in which the thoughtful panelists happily got much input from the audience. Everyone — do I need to say that these were mostly people who were white? — seemed very sincere. Searching their souls. Saying that they should change.

I honor that. And likewise I honor a theme that emerged, which was that we should "start the conversation." Start talking. Start down the road.

Which we — meaning we in classical music — certainly should do.

But how urgent is this?

A red button with the words Act Now on it

A red button with the words Act Now on it

One question not asked, though, was how urgent this journey is. I thought of posing the question, but then thought it wasn't my role to prod these good people, or to seem to be doing that. They had their process. I was observing.

But I will pose my question here. If classical music — orchestras included — needs to be more diverse, how urgent is that?

If five years, or 10 years, go by, and we haven't made progress, would that be — to put it in mild terms — merely sad? (As if we might say, "We wish we'd done better. Give us another 10 years.")

Or would we have failed in some deep, moral way? Failed to be the best people we could be, failed to rise to a central social and ethical need?

Or would we have damaged our core mission? Put ourselves so out of touch with the world around us that we'd lose crucial support?

What do you think, everyone reading this? What's your view?

I'll pose the question on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Original Content: How urgent is diversity?

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