Over 160 students at Western Michigan University were interviewed for a “documentary theatre piece” titled “Check Your Privilege,” which premiered last week. The production was assisted in part via (the seemingly oxymoronic) “Kellogg Grant for Racial Healing.”
WMUK 102.1 FM reports:
Calvin College Professor of Theatre Stephanie Sandberg is the head director of the production. This is the type of theatre she’s known for. Six years ago, Sandberg helped WMU create a similar play called Seven Passages—the Stories of Gay Christians.
“It’s a kind of theatre where you’re bound by using only the words that people use to describe their experiences and their stories,” she says.
“So it’s theatre in the sense that you still have actors performing it. We’re not putting the actual people on stage. But it’s trying to get at this sense of truth in language and in story that brings about a kind of authenticity that you might get from fictional theatre, but not necessarily.”
Sandberg says Kalamazoo County has a 50 on the disparity index according to the census. That means about half of the white population in a Kalamazoo neighborhood would have to move to another part of the county in order to desegregate the area.
“And so I wasn’t surprised to hear that that reality was happening at the university as well,” says Sandberg. “Even though there’s things…we try to put measures in place that stop that, it’s just not happening. In the United States right now—today—we have a dissimilarity index that is worse than apartheid South Africa. We’ve got to do something about this. We have to do something about this.”
Sandberg notes that “because the play uses real interviews from Western Michigan University staff and students, the audience feels like they’re part of an honest, open discussion about race and privilege.”
Except, again, the title of the production is called “Check Your Privilege” which, as we all know, only applies to Caucasians.
Not to mention, the first speaker in the video below kind of gives away the deal when he says (white) students “aren’t aware of how they fit into this privileged scheme” and that the “the point of this play is to educate people …” (emphasis added).
Prof. Sandberg later in the same video notes that many other colleges would fit right in too because “what we’re dealing with is systemic discrimination.”
So, it’s not really an “honest, open discussion” as Prof. Sandberg had noted, is it? This production appears to be like many other supposedly “open, honest discussions” about race — actually about embracing a particular point of view.
And guess which view that might be?
Read more here.
Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter