Don’t Buy the Hype: ‘Diversity’ Is Not a Value or Moral

Photo by Scott Graham via Unsplash

Don’t Buy the Hype: ‘Diversity’ Is Not a Value or Moral

By Cooper Dowd, Staff Writer

Recently, UCLA released a report claiming that on-screen diversity brings in more box-office revenue than non-diverse movies. The new report from the UCLA-based Center for Scholars and Storytellers is called “Beyond Checking A Box: A Lack of Authentically Inclusive Representation Has Costs at the Box Office.”

“We asked, what is the cost of lacking diversity? Hollywood is a business, and no business wants to leave money on the table,” Yalda T. Uhls, a UCLA adjunct assistant professor of psychology and founder and executive director of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers, said

Although proponents for diversity often view the word “diversity” as a value or moral, the reality is that it is a description and cannot be held up to or compared to the values upheld in scripture like truth, goodness, and love that are the real winners at the box office. 

Each year, Movieguide® releases the Report To The Entertainment Industry, which shows that movies with family-friendly values and Christian/Biblical morals bring in more revenue.

Fewer movies are pushing for the inclusion of Christians and Biblical morals, which, according to Movieguide®, have exponentially better box office returns than movies without.

Hollywood’s push for “diversity” in TV and movies is not a novel concept. On the contrary, the conversation picks up speed with each passing year. This year, the Academy released new diversity guidelines for movies to be eligible to receive an award; this extended not only to the actors and actresses but also to the production team behind the camera.  

UCLA’s report lacks strong evidence to support their claim. Moreover, when looking deeper into the examples provided, the disparity between movies appear to have little to do with biological diversity and more to do with intellectual diversity.  

Even with a limited sample, the real differentiator is not diversity or the lack thereof. While many in the entertainment sphere are obsessed with implementing diversity based on a person’s skin color or gender, very few are interested in exploring intellectual and ideological diversity. Diversity at the expense of good storytelling will hurt viewership, not increase it.  

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