The protest demonstrations against The Mikado are over, but the work is not. I am relieved that I can take a break from hostile, misinformed, racist white folks.
Some of the comments said to us by audience members:
- I’m wrong.
- I shouldn’t be so sensitive.
- I’m too late. And I should have brought this to the attention of director and production staff.
- To go back to back to where I come from
- To get something better to do
- We support what you’re doing (but walk into theatre to watch show)
- Asked if I believe in diversity, because this is it.
- I’m an idiot.
- I need an education.
- You just don’t get British satire
- That I’m mispronouncing the name wrong. And we should learn how to spell.
- Yellowface isn’t racist. I’m fact, their faces aren’t painted yellow.
- I’m British. I should be offended, not you.
Seattle may seem liberal and progressive to white liberal progressives, but the struggle is real for people of color. While we stood there with our signs and flyers trying to share our perspective, hostility and disrespectful comments were hurled at us from fellow Seattleites.
Not everyone acted this way, but those who did, said their antagonizing comment and walked away. It was so hard to not engage back through anger.
Damn. I really love Seattle, but this is so not ok. Yellowface is not ok. And the negative and stereotypical portrayal of any community of color is wrong. Seattle is showing it’s true colors.
thank you for taking a stand against this racist production.
this is the reason i’m not going to that production. seriously seattle, i expected better from you.
So I’m going to jump in on this because yes, Seattle theatre has a horrible time with this sort of thing.
- You are not wrong you are absolutely right. The reason I would presume people think it’s wrong to complain about this type of racism is because Seattle is a metropolitan city, therefore Seattle is racially and ethnically diverse: this is false. Seattle is over 70% white, which means that diversity isn’t something that just happens easily and just falls into your lap: it must be actively worked toward.
- It’s not sensitive to want minorities to be represented; that should be the golden standard.
- THIS WAS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE DIRECTOR AND PRODUCTION STAFF. THE BIG CONTROVERSY IS THAT THEY KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO BE AN ISSUE AND WENT THROUGH WITH IT ANYWAY.
- We know this due to the issue raised from the Seattle Shakespeare company’s production of Othello. People don’t actively reach out for actors of minority groups; they go through the “clear house” of actor information, which - surprise - doesn’t feature a lot of actors from diverse [non-white] backgrounds, because - surprise surprise - a lot of them don’t put their information on there “due, to a perception that there isn’t much work for actors of color and that the few available jobs automatically go to a small handful of established artists. Others, he said, feel like they have to leave town to get serious work”.
- That’s right: people are going out of state for the sole purpose of finding jobs because they know Seattle doesn’t have the best reputation for hiring non-white actors - or because they aren’t actively being reached out to, and therefore think it’s dumb to continue, because it’s a non-sustainable thing to pursue.
- It’s already been suggested to companies to do that: "call other directors and theaters that regularly work with actors of color" and scout for students at colleges and universities - even high schools.
- And people should be made aware of this being an issue; as mentioned, Seattle is 70% white, and white people are in a place of privilege, so they can easily turn a blind eye to this [the whole “racism doesn’t exist” concept]. This is called White Fragility, and it is an actual legitimate thing. The definition: “White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.” That is, to reinstate color-blindness and enforce white privilege.
- Satire =/= diversity. Someone in a place of privilege playing a character who is a minority for the sole purpose of making fun of that status is institutional racism. There’s an epic piece that The Stranger released [and yeah most of these links are to The Stranger, because they seem to be the only ones bothering to actually interview people and look things up; the Seattle Times in fact tried to defend it based on the Satire Of History context and only had a dissenting opinion in - you guessed it - the Opinions section] wherein ”when [racial satire] is performed by an all-white troupe of actors dressed and made up as Asians, it shifts from a brilliant comedy of manners to, as Asian American actress and blogger Erin Quill says, a ‘racist piece of crap’”, which is true.
- The director is an idiot. The defense: to say it’s not racist because people dress up with outfits not from their own culture all the time, people learn other dances that don’t belong to their ancestry just for the fun of it, people take martial-arts classes and have to wear non-Western outfits to do that. Note that this is cultural appropriation [though the first point is arguable: that one more or less depends on motivation and reason].
- Obviously people need to be educated that no, racism still exists, and if they looked outside of their whiteness every once and a while maybe they’d notice that.
- This is not British satire, because decent Satire is meant to point out these issues ON PURPOSE, in order to generate discussion to make such things stop happening. Dictionary Definition: “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.” [from the Macbook Dictionary app].
- The last three bullet points simply emphasize the ignorance being spread by - I’m sure - old white people.
- Because again, definitions are important; Yellow Face is comparable to Black Face, which by dictionary.com definition is this: “an entertainer, especially one in a minstrel show, made up in the role of a black” or “a performer made up to imitate a Black person” [that is, a white person pretending to be black]. Obviously, this technically has nothing to do with make-up, make-up just makes it easier to portray.
- No, white people shouldn’t be offended by others when their privilege is pointed out. White people should be offended by themselves, that they didn’t realize their privilege sooner.