Walking the fine line between good vs evil is easy when you’re young and have no choice.

This morning I read a fascinating article on Hollywood‘s demise and day of reckoning. It started off touching on technological, social (as in consumer behavior) and economic changes,

There has been an abrupt changing of the guard in Hollywood’s highest ranks, contributing to the sense of a power vacuum. Nine of the top 20 most powerful people in show business, as ranked a year ago by The Hollywood Reporter, have left their jobs for one reason or another (retirement, scandal, corporate guillotine). They include the No. 1 person, Robert A. Iger, who stepped down as Disney’s chief executive in February, and Ron Meyer (No. 11), whose 25-year Universal career ended in August amid a tawdry extortion plot.

but ended up taking on a more social (as in socio-economic and demographic) perspective: 

“I see this as a time of opportunity,” Ms. Ana DuVernay told me. “Sometimes you have to take it down to the studs and build something new.” She continued: “It’s not going to go back to the way it was, nor do we want it to. We want to move forward. I hear people saying that they can’t wait for Hollywood to get back to normal. Well, I really resist that. Normal wasn’t good enough.

All of this change in such a short amount of time really lays bare how shaky the ground was to begin with.”Ms. DuVernay, whose film and television credits include “Selma,” “Queen Sugar” and “When They See Us,” grew more pointed. “Some folks are scared, and I have sympathy,” she said. “But it’s mostly the folks who are clinging to the idea that Hollywood is theirs and it was built in their likeness, and they will do anything to cling to it, even if that means destroying it.”

I’ve always viewed myself as the quintessential underdog and outsider… 

Success is fluid, subjective and relative.

It’s easy to be idealistic when you don’t have much of a choice. But when your decisions affect others – your employees, the community you serve, and so on – that’s when it’s actually really impressive to stay good, do the right thing, and not give in to forces of greed and evil.

This year has been interesting on many levels. Personally for me, as I wrote at the peak of the BLM protests:

"9/11 was a defining moment for everyone alive. As much as I viewed myself as North America, 9/11 changed it all. Geopolitically, Iranians and Arabs are rivals, friends and foes, but while 19 Saudis crashed into symbols of American financial and military might, all Muslims bore the brunt of that affront.

O Canada: The Nice, 4th place finisher in Racism 

By then I was working in media, traveling to NYC and LA frequently enough. Starting your professional career in media post 9/11 with a Canadian passport saying you’re born in Iran is… something. That said, American customs employees never gave me a hard time; it’s as if they knew Iranians were in fact largely sympathetic to Americans. But the “damage” was done, the bias and prejudice that I sensed before was front and center. My sense of humor as a defense mechanism evolved to “I could have been the 20th hijacker,” a crude but effective pre-emption of any nonsense racism I’d have to bear otherwise. “Let’s get on with it” to allow me to move on to business.

Recently, the debate here has shifted between “Is Canada racist?” to “how racist is Canada.” Look, if Germany is the winner of the Cecil B. DeMille Award in racism and Americans are the perennial gold winners, Canada comes in fourth (there are many jokes and passive aggressive references there). Canada is racist, but its racism is not rooted in slavery and people owning one another. Canada shouldn’t get a pass for its more benign, subtle form of prejudice, but Canada passes the test and is part of the solution and not the problem. The reason, ultimately, boils down to slavery – or lack thereof.

Everyone has some biases, many are racist, Canadians are no exception. I’ve faced a lot of prejudice, but it’s nothing compared to others. But Canadians are naive about it, almost nice to a fault (jokes aside, while Canadians say the right things about their own relationship with indigenous people, government and citizens’ acts say much more.Due to genocide of native Americans & slavery, American racism is both malicious. Due to the seeds of imperialism, individualism & capitalism, America’s racism is also more opportunistic."

If it weren’t for the bias I faced in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today. But that’s a reflection of my drive, determination, perseverance and poise. Most people don’t have the stamina and energy to take on that much BS in their life. We need leaders who stick to their convictions, no matter how much money they have made, what awards they’ve won, or how many fans they have.

A lot of idealistic people are fortunate enough to stick to their principles and values to eventually accomplish success. The greater challenge is to maintain those convictions thereafter.