posted on Aug, 29 2013 @ 05:32 PM
I've got a bone to pick. I'm in an acting class... And there's this play called the Vote.
Well, in the class, it came round to picking out characters. By the time my turn came up, there were three characters left. Doctor King, Frederick
Douglas, and Young Man #1. Young man #1 has one stinking line.
I ask her why I can't be Doctor King, and her answer shocked me. Because of my skin color.
I thought we were better than that.
I know some of you might have the wrong impression, and think I would do something like that in malice, but I respect Doctor King. He was fighting for
the same issues of freedom and equality that are so important today. I've memorized lines, practiced, studied the man himself... He was one of the
most positive influences on politics in the 60s. King believed in equality, though. That the color of your skin didn't matter, just the contents of
your heart, Well, I care about the same issues he did. Racism did not die after the civil rights movement, unfortunately. The nonviolent protests of
the 60s did, however, change things.
People are equal now. I thought we were past petty things like color, or atleast I hoped we were..
Well, I felt insulted by what she had said. She specifically said, "You cannot play the role, because you are a caucasian.".
What if I said, "You cannot play a role because you're an african american"?
It'd be really racist.
At that point, I felt betrayed. I did the only thing I could think of, and called the ACLU. They should be sending me a packet in the mail to fill out
any day now.
Well, the next class, we're doing the play. And I'm just rehearsing my one line as Young Man #1, all the while reading Doctor King's lines in my
head, things about freedom, equality, the rights of man.
I speak with a fellow thespian in training.
"What've you been up to, this week?"
"Not much. Watching the Walking Dead. You?"
"Well, I've been reading up on the ACLU, online."
The teacher must of overheard, because after that, she said that I could atleast read it for that class period.
So I did... And I put my heart into it. I read those words as the truth that they were, with the emphasis and clarity they deserved.
At the end of class, I asked her, "Barring the controversy, how was my performance?"
"Pretty good. You're over acting, a little bit, but you could dial it back easy enough. But I'm afraid you can't actually be Doctor King."
"Because it would break suspension of disbelief." She sighed.
"But... You have a woman.. playing George Washington... That's progressive, I understand that. In this day and age, a woman should be able to play
George Washington. But I don't understand why you refuse to allow me to read for Doctor King."
"Listen... I'm not looking for your "type" to play Doctor King. People have types..."
And all the while, I'm thinking to myself, "What type, white? Caucasian?"
"But there are some actors that are like chameleons, like Gary Oldman.."
"Listen... You're a Caucasian. I am not looking for a Caucasian to play Doctor King, alright?"
She didn't seem to see the irony in the situation. Her, refusing me an opportunity because of my race.
"Ms. ******... I can't help but feel sort of... offended.. at the implications of what you said."
The irony of the situation is that there are no African American students in acting class. She is bringing in a third party actor who is not part of
the class. Because she believes that what was important about Doctor King ws his skin color.
What makes him more qualified for the role? I've read the script, dozens of times. Been watching hours of Doctor King, learning his mannerisms.
Learning his ideals, beliefs in equality. I feel a sort of kinship to King, now, ironically.
Am I crazy for wanting to play Doctor King? If you asked Doctor King what he wanted, he did not just want equality for black people. He wanted
equality for everyone. As King said, "Many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny
is tied up with our destiny."
We're all in the same boat now. White and black are just dividers that The Man uses to play us against each other. Race should not be an issue.
But, apparently in theater, it's okay for a woman to play George Washington, but a "Caucasian" as she so bluntly and racially put it... Is out of
the question to play Doctor King. That's not what King wants.