How Frances McDormand’s Oscar-grabbing ‘inclusion rider’ got its meaning

Word(s) of the week: the most thrilling phrase at this year’s Oscars has its roots in rock stars’ backstage demands and the politics of 1950s America

The biggest lexical thrill in the Oscars came when Frances McDormand dropped the phrase “inclusion rider”, something that would ensure better representation of minorities in a film’s cast and crew. But why does it mean that?

Most familiarly, a rider lists a rock band’s backstage demands – crates of booze, bowls of M&M’s with no brown ones, and so on. (Van Halen insisted on the latter to check the venue paid attention to detail.) It derives from the sense of “rider” as anything that goes atop something else: so a rider, from the 17th century, was an addition to a legislative bill or a contract.

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