Ultimately, British production companies, financiers and the US studios working here need to make a decision about what side of history they want to be on. They need to start reflecting the diversity of the UK, not just in front of the camera, but behind it. Every British production should have a quota in place for actors and crew. We need to put an infrastructure in place where people from the BAME community, who make up around 14% of the population, have access to jobs, have access to training and apprenticeship schemes and can further their careers.
OK, cool. That will mean discriminating against BAME applicants. Yes, against.
For workforces are not drawn from the national pool but from the local. Once you get away from leading name actors that is. And much of the UK’s TV and film production is done in areas – like London or nearby – where the BAME portion of the population is higher than that national average of 14%. So, a 14% target means discrimination against BAMEs in that local population that workforce is drawn from.
This also works the other way of course. The Tyne area is – as an example – one of the least BAME areas in the country. Blacks were something like 1 % or so at the last census from memory.
Looking at the national population doesn’t in fact tell us much useful about what should be the mix in a specific area.