To the Editor:
Anthony Tommasini was absolutely right in noting that screens played an important role in achieving greater gender equity in American orchestras. The logic of removing them to accomplish fairness in hiring racial-ethnic minorities not only overlooks their demonstrated value in encouraging racial fairness in promotion and advancement, and the risk of rolling back what has been accomplished in terms of gender equity, but the many other factors that create racial inequities in hiring.
Among these, the single most important is lack of a diverse pool of applicants. Orchestras must aggressively recruit racial-ethnic minorities to apply for positions. Without diverse applicants, it is impossible to succeed at hiring a diverse set of musicians.
There is a great deal of social science expertise on the topic of achieving equity in hiring. I hope orchestras turn to experts and the research literature for advice about how best to achieve the diversity and fairness that surely are long overdue.
Abigail J. Stewart
Ann Arbor, Mich.
The writer is a professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Michigan.
Read the full article at the New York Times.