BONOKOSKI: The media is biased on diversity. Let the students rise up 

Ironic Bonokoski article given that much of Sun/Postmedia commentary reinforces the belief that mainstream media has a left-wing bias (of which, of course, Postmedia is part):

The non-partisan think tank the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) has launched an essay-writing contest for students, claiming the “dominant mainstream media narrative seems to offer a single, simplistic, politically biased view to represent all people of colour on the most important political and cultural issues.”

It cited no example of that bias.

The contest rules don’t implicitly say that ‘white people need not apply’ but it is certainly inferred that white students would not have the world or personal experience to address the issues.

“A diversity of opinions from individuals with different backgrounds represents a strong measure of a successful democracy,” said MLI Senior Fellow Jamil Jivani.

“Young Canadians deserve to be heard, especially those whose opinions are often left out of public debate.”

This essay competition, says MLI, is part of the institute’s Speak for Ourselves project, which “seeks to amplify the views of people of colour whose dissent from mainstream narratives might leave them without a platform for expressing their opinions.”

The contest winner — with essays limited to 750 to 1,000 words and open to students 25 and younger — will receive a $1,500 prize and have their essay published in MLI’s Inside Policy magazine.

According to MLI Munk Senior Fellow Shuvaloy Majumdar, “Supporting true diversity and inclusion is much more important than succumbing to the narrow ‘culture war’ debate being perpetuated in much of society.”

As Jivani notes, successful submissions will be those that provide “a unique and compelling argument or commentary on issues of race, racism, and diversity — the kind of argument you might not read in the opinion sections of Canada’s major papers or in a university classroom.”

The deadline for submissions is midnight Nov. 29.

The World Economic Forum recently put out a paper on the need of the media and entertainment industries to expand diversification, stating that it opens the door to increased profits.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has recently become one of the most trending topics in the media and entertainment industry,” said the forum.

“But embracing diversity isn’t only about doing the right thing.

“Analysis shows that ethics and profits are two sides of the same coin. There’s financial logic to making sure that content — and those who create it — are authentically and inclusively representative of today’s society.

“For example, movies that lack authentic and inclusive representation underperform by around 20% of their budget at the opening weekend box office.

“In advertising, 64% of consumers in a Google survey said that they had considered buying or had made a purchase after seeing an ad that they considered diverse or inclusive.

“Similarly, other sectors have sizable untapped opportunities from increased diversity and inclusion.

“However, true diversity includes diversity of thought and, in this respect, minority communities are as diverse as any other communities in our country,” says the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

“This essay competition is an opportunity for students across Canada to challenge the dominant mainstream narrative on race and racism in Canada.

“Reflecting from a place of personal experience is encouraged and, in doing so, a successful essay will exemplify true diversity — the diversity of thought — in our country,” it offers.

“This is to say, the winning essay will be one that provides a unique and compelling argument or commentary on issues of race, racism, and diversity — the kind of argument you might not read in the opinion sections of Canada’s major papers or in a university classroom.”

So, there’s the ground rules.

We in the media are allegedly one dimensional.


About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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