Fostering diversity at Edwards

editorial cartoon by Yasuyuki Nagasawa
editorial cartoon by Yasuyuki Nagasawa

A college community is known for fostering diversity and challenging traditional ways of thinking. In a city such as La Verne, with a university within its boundaries, not to mention schools in the neighboring cities of Claremont and Pomona, diversity should be encouraged everywhere, but this is not entirely the case.

About two years ago, La Verne became the home of the newest and most modern Edwards Cinema, boasting 12 screens. Despite the controversy over whether the theater would bring more traffic and crime to the quiet city, many residents were optimistic over the prospect of a diverse array of movies to choose from. Unfortunately, this prospect has yet to become a reality.

While Edwards La Verne 12 consistently shows the biggest blockbusters and the top-grossing films, it has yet to screen ethnically or artistically diverse movies. In recent years, some acclaimed and ethnically diverse movies the theater has not shown include “Howards End,” “Menace II Society,” “Mi Vida Loca,” “Posse,” “El Mariachi,” “Low Down Dirty Shame,” “CB4,” “Crooklyn” or “Higher Learning,” just to name a few.

The theater did not even book “Pulp Fiction” for an extended run until it had been nominated for seven Academy Awards and gained a wide following, only a mere four months after its original release date.

A movie theater decides which films it will book on the basis of which films will make the theater the most money, which is understandable. Consequently, many theaters do not book smaller, less profitable but more literate and challenging films. However, the La Verne Edwards is the largest and most profitable theater in the area. Would showing, say, one such film on one screen make a big difference in the profit margin? The Campus Times thinks not.

Some might argue that La Verne is a predominately white community, therefore ethnically diverse films would not be popular in the city. We beg to differ. While some films might not make as much money as a blockbuster movie like “Outbreak” (which is currently playing at the theater), they would draw a whole segment of moviegoers from this community and surrounding ones that yearns for diversity to be a part of everyday life.

Whether the city of La Verne considers itself to be diverse or not, the fact of the matter is that we live in a diverse world. Education of diversity remains the key to understanding. If a person is living in a community that does not tolerate diversity, where will toleration be learned? The answer is, it will not.

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