High School Students Put An End To A Play For “White Washing?” Character.
Ithaca High School had a firsthand look at social justice warriors when they decided to cast a white female student in the role of Esmerelda, in their rendition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Esmerelda is a Romanian Gypsy, not African American/Indian. But her race should not be an issue as it’s a school play and the roles are given out based on the student’s ability to act out the role. Or that’s what is supposed to happen.
An Indian student felt that she was unjustly passed over and quit the play in response to the role of Esmerelda going to a white classmate. The student felt Esmerelda was a person of color so the role, therefore, should go to someone also of color.
“It shows you that theater wasn’t made for you,” said Maddi, who is African-American. “And it shows you that, if you can’t get the parts that are written for you, what parts are you going to get?”
The student should have been corrected and told that it was not a choice based on race but talent. But that could have been seen as offensive so instead, nothing was immediately done, allowing for the student to feel it race-based decision.
So, of course, people came together to defend the confused teen, only making things worse. They put out this letter to combat the now deemed racist play.
“Esmerelda is accurately depicted in the Disney musical, and is written for, a young woman of color.” In case you didn’t see what they were trying to say with that statement they clear it up in the following paragraph.
“The young woman who was cast in this role has hazel eyes, blonde hair, and is the epitome of whiteness. This is an unfair position to put her in. At best, this is cultural appropriation. At worst, it is whitewashing, a racist casting practice which has its roots in minstrelsy. It also reinforces the damaging narrative that only white power structures can save oppressed people, rather than people of color having the fortitude to do so themselves.”
This poor school. The High school, of course, shut down the play causing the young “epitome of whiteness” to lose out on a chance to play the lead role in that play. All because another teen was jealous. Schools need to start standing up to this bullying behavior. You know it’s a double standard if they were doing The Wizard of Oz and the role of Dorothy went to an African American or Indian girl no one would bat an eye. This forced diversity narrative isn’t helping anyone.