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Woman Freaks Out On Black Playwright During Broadway Q&A, Calls Him ‘Racist Against White People’

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We are all on the same page that one cannot be racist against White people in the United States since racism is a system in a society used to the benefit of those in power to oppress those without power and based on racial or ethnic differences?

That’s the sociological definition of racism, not the dictionary’s. But since we’re talking about a societal situation and not a grammatical one, the sociological definition takes precedence.

So put the dictionary down before arguing about the definition.

Here’s the definition rooted in sociology—the study of human societies:

“[Racism is] the systemic subordination of members of targeted racial groups who have relatively little social power in the United States (Blacks, Latino/as, Native Americans, and
Asians), by the members of the agent racial group who have relatively more social power
(Whites). This subordination is supported by the actions of individuals, cultural norms
and values, and the institutional structures and practices of society.”

Except in 2019, not everybody is actually on that page.

Jeremy O. Harris, the playwright of the acclaimed Broadway show Slave Play, was fielding questions at a talkback post-performance when a White woman leaped from her seat and began accusing Harris of “racism against White people.”

The interaction was captured on video and shared on Twitter.

 

“She just freaked out,” said a fellow audience member, of the woman.

“The videos don’t do it justice. She went off on him. … She was screaming at the top of her lungs. She could not handle her own guilt or responsibility in her own feelings, and she demanded that Jeremy help explain and handle her feelings.”

The lady said she felt like she was a marginalized member of society.

Harris responded:

“I never once said that you as a White woman were not a marginalized person. But if you heard that in my play, I don’t know what to tell you. Perhaps read it or see it again.”

“In the play, the Black person in every couple doesn’t feel heard or valued by their White counterpart,” said the audience member.

“She was mirroring the attitude of one White woman in the play and embodying the same characteristics. The play is about race and Black people and what they experience, and she couldn’t recognize that she was feeling exactly what the play was designed to make her feel.”

The play inspired the conversation that Harris was hoping for, for sure.  But we’re still in awe at the lack of self awareness of this reaction.

The book of Slave Play is available here.

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Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.