Racism in the musical SHOWBOAT.....

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by darthmomm, Jun 21, 2002.

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  1. darthmomm Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2001
    star 4
    Ok....I have dying to start this thread here.....I am sooooo excited about this board. I have been away for a while because of theatre duties......but here I go.

    Every year.....the Pfizer company puts on a musical that the proceeds benefit the United Way. This has been a 41 year tradition.

    Every year they pick a musical that is true to their core family values. Such as Carousel, King and I, Sound of Music...yada yada. Now, this year they had picked Showboat. Showboat takes place at a time in our history when the word "nigger" was used. In a sense, this show is about racism....but it is not racist.

    Now, after the show was cast......the royalties paid for..sets designed...lot's of money spent......someone complained about the word "nigger".

    They pulled the show....which caused a HUGE uproar in our community. The media was called in, people were hurt....money was lost.

    They ended up changing the show mid way in production.

    Now.....I feel that this is a first ammendment issue. They had no right to force anyone to change the show. This show is a part of our history.....there was discrimination....we can never change our history.

    How do you feel??
  2. Iwishiwasajedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2002
    star 4
    This is a very old debate. My view on it is that people are too ashamed to look back and remember slavery. In other words, when people hear the words it makes them look back and remember the awful days of slavery, especially for white people. So in my opinion, people are too ashamed to hear the "n" word. [face_plain]
  3. Melyanna Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2001
    star 4
    I don't see this show as racist - quite the opposite, in fact. It merely attempts to accurately portray the time period, and that was a time when the word "nigger" was used.

    I'm more concerned about the racist conditions surrounding the movie version of Showboat - after all, the story is about a mulatto woman, and they wouldn't let a mulatto actress play the part because the studio at the time did not allow actors of different races play opposite each other in romantic roles.

    Just my two cents.

    Mel
  4. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    This is a very old debate. My view on it is that people are too ashamed to look back and remember slavery. In other words, when people hear the words it makes them look back and remember the awful days of slavery, especially for white people. So in my opinion, people are too ashamed to hear the "n" word.

    I think this is a very valid point... one I have rarely heard brought up in such discussions. Particularly, I identify with the fact that people are often too ashamed of these things and for white culture this black spot on their history is a slap in the face... one that cuts more deeply than they care to admit.
  5. Iwishiwasajedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2002
    star 4
    Thank you Darth_Snowdog :)

    and Mel, you have a very good point. To take the n word out of the play would pretty much destroy it. The play is about a period of time, and at the time the n word was used. Just because we don't use the word anymore today doesn't mean that it can't be in a play that is about when the word was used.
  6. fiddlesticks Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2002
    This situation reminds me quite a bit of the "Huck Finn" book bannings/burnings.

    I do not have any problem whatsoever with "Showboat" or "Huck Finn's" referneces to slavery because thye are both period pieces, written about a time when slavery was legal and common. Furthermore, I do not think either work should be altered because they contain illustrations of slavery in America. Quite the opposite: if we forget the past, then we are likely to repeat it.
  7. darthmomm Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2001
    star 4
    Apparently..the Pfizer bigwigs pulled the plug on the show because they did not feel that it was in the best interest of the community. They flet that certain organizations would take offense to it.

    Those organisations were involved in the "negotiations". Got to love political correctness.......
  8. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Of course, the irony is that the 'n-word' is used to expose racism and the negative aspects of it.

    These are the same people who got To Kill a Mockingbird banned from my school district last year. :mad: If one would simply take the work as a whole and see the point behind the language, one would understand that the works themselves are very anti-racist.
  9. Iwishiwasajedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2002
    star 4
    since this has turned into more of a debate then a dicussion on Fine Art, I suggest you start a thread in the Senate on this same topic Darthmomm
  10. darthmomm Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2001
    star 4
    I think that it is fine where it is. I felt that it belonged here because it pertained to the arts.....

    much like the eminem thread-debate.

    Thank you for your thoughts......

    **grins at mod-wanna be**
  11. Iwishiwasajedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah but still, start another thread on the same topic in the Senate. I'm sure it'll get a good response there. :)


    BTW: go ahead and leave this one open


    and what makes you think I wanna be a mod? ;) :p
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