CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller expressed his network’s commitment to diversity during a recent TV critics meeting by offering himself up as the epitome of diversification.
Geller was quoted as saying, “I’m diverse, I fall into the LBGT category. I’m just a gay guy from Indiana who doesn’t play basketball. I mentioned my husband earlier, because I want to normalize my diversity. CBS will always reflect what American looks like.”
On Thursday’s edition of TV One’s NewsOne Now, Roland Martin addressed Geller’s comments, questioned if diversity has killed affirmative action, and if the push toward diversity in America has somehow removed the reasons why affirmative action was instituted to level the playing field.
Martin explained, “We’re criticizing diversity because of lack of ethnic representation, but he is saying I’m gay so that’s diverse, but he’s still a White male.”
Martin then asked his panel of guests, “Is he sort of clueless on this thing?”
NewsOne Now panelist Lenny McAllister said, “When you talk about affirmative action, it’s supposed to offer diversity and disparities, specifically economic disparities, opportunity, and when you look at those numbers, they’re going in the wrong direction.”
He added, “We can talk about having diversity in regards to having gay White males leading organizations, but when you start talking about economic disparities between Blacks and Whites, those numbers are going in the wrong direction, and if we forget what the diversity efforts are supposed to do, which is closing the disparities in America … it could be seen as a national security issue.”
McAllister further explained his point, saying, “You cannot be great as a nation if you continue to let these disparities continue to widen.”
Martin interjected, “I think we (ethnic minorities) are cutting our own throats by falling for the diversity game.” He later added, if you begin to add individuals from the LGBT community, women, thought diversity, and “where you come from, are you liberal, are you conservative — you start getting away from really the whole point of what” diversity was defined as.
Tavis Smiley explained the tragic nature of Geller’s interesting take on diversity, saying, “This is now the most multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America ever.” He added, “Television does not look like America and radio does not sound like America because those who green-light programming’s view and definition of diversity and inclusion isn’t elastic enough, it’s not liberal enough.”
NewsOne Now panelist Douglas Sloan believes Geller still benefits from White privilege despite being a member of the LGBT community, saying, “You cannot claim to being the diverse person in the room if you have really benefited from all of the luxuries afforded to you of being a White male in America.”
Watch Roland Martin, Tavis Smiley, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the true meaning of diversity in America in the video clip above.
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