Ever since a man named George Floyd died in the custody of a multiracial group of Minneapolis police officers, America has been in a panic about something called “whiteness.” As it has been explained to me, “whiteness” is something separate from white people or even skin color itself. “Whiteness” seems to be a sort of free-floating evil that can infect pretty much anything and make it bad. The worst thing you can do in 2021 America is perpetuate “whiteness.”
And what’s whiter than dinner theater? If you answered “Nothing,” you’re wrong as of about five minutes ago. Ross Raihala, Pioneer Press:
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has scrapped plans to stage Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” and will instead make its next production “Footloose…”
In an interview, artistic director Michael Brindisi said the decision had nothing to do with the show’s content and that he’s not ruling out staging “Cinderella” at some point in the future.
The show came into question after Brindisi looked at the cast.
“It was 98 percent white,” he said. “That doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do…”
After the killing of George Floyd last summer, Brindisi said he realized it was time to “change our culture and make us more diverse and more equitable as a company. We’ve really dug in on diversity, equity and inclusion, the commitment to social justice and getting more diversity into our business across the board.”
So… staging a production of Cinderella is a violation of “social justice”? It’s probably racist to note that this idea is incredibly stupid, so I won’t.
It’s a sign of how quickly things are changing that this theater decided to stage “Cinderella” in the first place. After all, it’s the story of a peasant girl in 19th Century Europe who becomes a princess. It’s about as white as you can get! Which apparently was acceptable when Chanhassen Dinner Theatres decided to stage it, but then the hammer of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” suddenly smashed down on it. That’s how quickly it can happen. One minute you’re just trying to put on a show, and the next minute you’re the most horrible racist in the world.
If this sort of racial panic were limited to dinner theaters in Minnesota, nobody would care. But this is just one small example of a nationwide trend. Everywhere you look, everybody’s trying to be less “white” than the next guy. Over the past year, The Simpsons and other animated shows have been shamed into replacing white actors who voiced non-white characters. Sesame Street just introduced two African-American Muppet characters in the name of “diversity” and “inclusion” and other buzzwords, which is very strange because black people have been a part of the show for over 50 years.
(When I watched Sesame Street as a little kid, I saw people who didn’t look like me and I wanted them to be my friends. I loved Gordon and Susan and Maria and Luis and the rest. Sesame Street was a world where everybody got along, no matter what they looked like. Clearly, that was just my burgeoning white supremacy at work.)
Whereas just today, Amazon Prime Video is presenting an odd counterexample, an animated superhero show called Invincible:
The main character, a white kid who develops Superman-like powers, is played by Steven Yeun, a Korean-American actor. And it’s… fine! Nobody is protesting a non-white actor playing a white character. It’s not considered racist or “Asian supremacy” or anything ridiculous like that. Yeun is a good actor and he’ll probably do a good job. It doesn’t matter what color he is.
But can you imagine the furor if it were the other way around? What if it were a white actor portraying a Korean-American character? The show would never even get off the ground. As soon as they made the first casting announcement, there would be a hashtag campaign on Twitter (#InvincibleIsInsensitive!) and it would be scuttled.
Just look at what happened at HBO when they announced a show called Confederate. All HBO gave us was a title and a premise — “What would the world be like today if the South had won the Civil War?” — and the outrage mob got it canceled before a single script was written or any actors were cast. Never mind that The Man in the High Castle depicts a world where the Nazis won. That was science fiction, and Confederate was racist propaganda before it had even been written. If that doesn’t sound right, then you can just go ahead and shut up, racist.
Apparently this all has to do with something called critical race theory, which is the theory that all white people are bad and if you’re white you should feel guilty about every problem in the history of the world. If that sounds exhausting, that’s only because it is. No wonder everybody is going insane.
The worst thing you can do today is refuse to apologize for the ills of the world because of the skin you were born in. The most racist act of all is refusing to capitulate to these racists.
At this rate, how long until it’s racist to call something “a Cinderella story”?