Ithaca High School in Ithaca, New York, has officially canceled its school musical because a white girl was “outrageously” awarded the role of a “character of color” in the production and student activists threatened the school with charges of “racism.”
Calling themselves “Students United Ithaca,” the group of students succeeded in shutting down the school’s production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” after a white girl was given the role of Esmeralda, the gypsy girl who becomes the love interest of the doomed Hunchback, Quasimodo.
The students were apparently incensed that the role of Esmeralda was to be played by a white girl instead of going to a “student of color.” In his 1831 classic, Author Victor Hugo originally wrote the character of Esmeralda as a Romani Gypsy girl. But the students apparently decided that the character should not be portrayed by a white person.
“It shows you that theater wasn’t made for you,” African American student, Maddi Carroll, told the Ithaca Journal. “And it shows you that, if you can’t get the parts that are written for you, what parts are you going to get?”
Naturally, as soon as the kids began their agitating, the school threw in the towel and canceled the show. The activist students were exultant that they got the show canceled. Like all good liberals, they’d rather no one have any enjoyment if their demands aren’t met.
Student activists then banded together under the umbrella of Students United Ithaca and wrote a letter that included a list of demands, saying that, while the young lady cast as Esmeralda was “a stellar actor, singer, and dancer” any production would be “lucky to have,” she couldn’t be cast in this role because she is the “epitome of whiteness.”
“At best, this is cultural appropriation,” the student group wrote, alleging racial bias within the Performing Arts Program at IHS, and “at worst, it is whitewashing, a racist casting practice which has its roots in minstrelsy.”
Sadly, the school is letting the inmates run the asylum. These kids don’t have the first clue what they are talking about.
The character of Esmeralda isn’t a “black” character, so the role ALSO wasn’t “written for” a black student like Maddi Carroll. After all, gypsies aren’t Africans. Granted, gypsies aren’t lily white, but they certainly aren’t black. Furthermore, Esmeralda is written as half French in the original novel. So, as a “person of color” she barely qualifies.
Amusingly, these dumb kids even acknowledged that the original character is supposed to be half French and half gypsy, and they even tried to address this little fact that puts such a hole in their argument. Their retort was just as stupid: “The book and the musical should not be conflated because the musical is only inspired by Hugo’s manuscript,” they said.
OK, so if we aren’t going to “conflate” things and we are going to say the character is only “inspired” loosely by the original work, why CAN’T a white girl play the character? In fact, why can’t a white boy play Esmeralda? I mean, if the actual source material is meaningless, then why not? The point is, they have no logical leg to stand on… not that logic ever means anything to a social justice liberal.
Anyway, these social justice warriors are all caught up in their silliness and are demanding that the school start being “more inclusive and culturally responsive.”
By that they mean no white kids should be allowed to do anything except to bow their heads and shut up.
Naturally, Ithaca’s weak-kneed school officials are genuflecting in front of these rabble-rousing kids and bowing and scraping for their favors instead of putting them back in their place.
“We thank everyone for their contributions as we delve further into complex conversations,” the district said in a cloying statement. “In addition, we ask that you please stay engaged as we continually work to create community-wide support for our students and school community.”
Then, after these kids told whites they aren’t wanted, they laughably invoked Martin Luther King, Jr., saying they were only touting a message of “love, unity, understanding, and inclusion.”
“Our endgame,” the kids said, “is a performing arts program with more unity, more inclusion, and musical where we can all experience the joy and bonding of inclusive performing arts following best theatrical practices.”
You know, “inclusion” as long as white people shut up and step away from the stage and un-include themselves in things.