We get what we tolerate.

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A couple weeks ago on his amazing podcast Akimbo, Seth Godin said:

“We get what we tolerate.”

This stopped me in my tracks. The truth of the statement was so stark, so absolutely pure, that it took my breath away. I recognized myself in those words.

Right now we are at the height of audition season. Some people use the busy-ness and chaos of it all to give themselves a free pass to treat others with disrespect, to apply inhumane rules and call them “industry standard," to devalue the work of the artist, to tokenize actors who do not identify with a majority group and call it "diversity," to use microaggressive language, to indulge in snark…. I could go on and on.

The system is broken. I think most of us can agree on that point. But here’s the kicker…

We get what we tolerate.

If conditions are intolerable to you, it is time to do something about it. For some of you, this might mean stepping into a leadership role and starting a revolution. For some of you, it might mean finding a leader to follow. For some of you, this might mean a phone call to someone in a position of authority. For some, a blog post. For some, signing a petition. And myriad other possibilities. There is not necessarily a “right” way to effect change.

Here is a partial list of what I AM willing to tolerate:

  • Humane and safe conditions both before and during an audition. Respectful treatment of human beings.

  • Creating an environment of belonging for actors who identify with a non-majority group.

  • Calling out microaggressive language and behavior.

  • Celebrating the dignity of every artist.

  • A gossip-free audition room.

What about you?