In a March episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about some fuddy-duddies’ complaints about actors wearing Ku Klux Klan costumes in a South Dakota high school performance of The Foreigner. The complaints led to an apology from the school’s school district for the play having been performed.
Those complaints, if dealt with using logic and a rudimentary understanding of theater, should have gone nowhere. I explained in March:
The fuss is just about the costumes worn by some actors, ignoring the context of such in the play
Get over it people. The play is The Foreigner. It is a comedy. I enjoyed seeing the play performed in Texas a few years after its 1980s off-Broadway run in New York City. Here’s a spoiler: The characters in KKK costumes are not presented as heroic.
This month, fuddy-duddies struck again. They managed to prevent students at Washington College in Maryland from presenting on campus their long-planned performance of The Foreigner. As Cassy Sottile reports at the college’s The Elm, the decision to cancel the performance of the play was made approximately one hour before the play’s final dress rehearsal. Here is how Sottile relates one student government member justified the cancellation of the play’s performance:
According to SGA Secretary of Diversity junior Felicia Attor, the play affected everyone on campus.
“Understandably, this play is a comedy and more than 23 months of work went into it, which can never be disputed. However, putting the KKK on stage in a satirical way is not appropriate because nothing about the historical and present day ramifications of the KKK is funny,” Attor said.
Confederate flags are seen in Kent County frequently, according to Attor.
Students on campus still face overt and subtle forms of racism from people in the community and on campus.
“This is about acknowledging the need for all, not some, students to feel safe on this campus,” Attor said.
I prefer the take of Robby Soave at Reason. Soave writes the following regarding the Washington College play performance cancellation:
This is a private college—indeed, it is one of the oldest liberal arts institutions in the country—and so the administration is within its rights to treat students like children who cannot possibly handle challenging material. But this is a sad indictment of the priorities of the modern college campus, where too many students have to submit to the preposterous idea that everyone must feel perfectly safe and shielded from emotional discomfort at all times.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.