When I talk about -isms I want to clarify that I am referring to those particular views and beliefs that include but are not limited to racism, sexism, classism (if you believe such a thing exists) or even fascism and communism. They are things which I consider negative and utilised for particular methods of separation. However the issue which I want to talk about is not that such things are negative in and of themselves, but instead the reaction I've noticed some people using to them.
Take racism or sexism in films or television as an example. You see it all the time where a homogeneous group of all male, all white actors are specifically chosen for roles that could have been given a more multicultural spin. There are times when I've seen this happen and reflected that there were actors of other ethnicities or genders who could have been picked (who often have greater resumes for the roles than those chosen) and that the selection of the actors are based around the idea of what they look like being desirable.
Now obviously the above idea is blatantly wrong. However let me tell you something that would be just as wrong. What if we replaced the group with one which contained all female, all Chinese actresses? The point being that picking based purely on appearances, no matter whether you were trying to reverse the roles around from the norms, is wrong. The thing is that I have had some friends in my real life point out to me that we should change the racism or sexism of things such as books or films simply by replacing the typical 'white, heterosexual male' with his complete opposite. That does not solve the problem but instead serves as a typical bandaid solution.
I hate bandaid solutions - or knee jerk reactions. I hate them because all they do is fix the cosmetic appearance of the problem without solving the deep down issues. The issue in the scenarios I am describing are not the issues that we attempt to fix by replacing the appearance. These are issues of the heart and of consideration that require a change in attitude. People need to wake up to working out artistically and in real life, ways of choosing people not based on simple appearances but on quality. In other words choose the best candidates for the work you need done - not because you have a quota of token non-white or female candidates to fill up. I genuinely believe that if we can get attitudes changing to not view these 'isms' as about the surface appearance that a lot of problems in a whole variety of areas could change.