This letter was submitted on Friday, December 21, 2018. 


Dear Argus Editor, Regarding last weeks issue of the Argus, a article entitled ‘Theater Calls For Diversity’ really caught my eye. While I agree without question that diversity hires in any setting should be mandatory, I take extreme umbrage at the theater students petition that states, “We believe it is imperative that our department recognize that theater in the context of the U.S. is a white supremacist act…”. I have worked in collegiate, amateur and professional theater for over 38 years and if any workplace was conducive to inclusion and diversity, it was in the those theaters. I was introduced to assorted LGBT theater staff at the age of 17 as an intern at the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami and was always made to feel welcome. In 1995,I worked Off-Broadway on ‘All In The Timing’, the biggest hit of that year in NYC. The cast, crew and production staff were a widely diverse group and we all worked together on a common goal; to put on the best show possible.At no time in my career, did I encounter, or hear ANY White Supremacist rhetoric, propaganda or secret agendas. On the contrary, I have encountered more freedom of speech and welcoming of diverse individuals in the theater community than any other place I have been employed.The students petition, while made in the best interest, should be changed to eliminate such a vile and caustic statement and rewritten to clarify what might be really wrong in the theater department at the university.

  • Don Winstrom

    Go back to school and educate yourself silly boy. Wesleyan is MAGA country!

  • T

    I’m pretty sure they were referring to the context of popular theater in the United States in the last century. For example, minstrel shows, and stereotyped characters that are still relevant today (even if we don’t call them racist all the tie) like the mammy, the tragic mulatta, etc. It is an undeniable fact that theater contributed to the reimagining of blackness toward the end of the antebellum period, and continued to do so after the civil war. This is a topic that has been studied extensively in Africana studies.