The jury remains out on what exactly killed writer Edgar Allan Poe in early October 1849. He had been lecturing in Richmond and was on his way back to his home in Fordham, New York, where he lived with his aunt and mother-in-law Maria Clemm, his wife Virginia having died of consumption two years previously. It is thought that Poe had aspirations to remarry and that was one reason he was in Richmond, to renew his acquaintanceship with certain ladies… In any case a week after leaving Richmond he was found in bad straits on a Baltimore sidewalk. What had happened to him in the intervening week is a mystery…..
“The narrative of a black chef didn’t exist. Black people have always cooked and been part of serving, but not from a chef perspective. Not in these establishments — the three-star, highest establishments. So when they say ‘Marcus Samuelsson’ coming in — that’s a Swedish name, and then they saw me, it was a shock. I was not applying for the dishwashing job — I was applying for a chef job. So being able to, in a nonthreatening way, and getting the job just like anybody else — they were just not used to it. They had just never seen it, ever.”—Marcus Samuelsson: On Becoming A Top Chef (via npr)
I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not their word. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies. So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it? Being a white guy who likes women, here’s how I would do it: Dudes. Imagine life here in the US - or indeed, pretty much anywhere in the Western world - is a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time. Let’s call it The Real World. You have installed The Real World on your computer and are about to start playing, but first you go to the settings tab to bind your keys, fiddle with your defaults, and choose the difficulty setting for the game. Got it? Okay:
In the role playing game known as The Real World, “Straight White Male” is the lowest difficulty setting there is.
Michael Lind takes stock, 14 years after his original piece on “The Beige and the Black,” of the complex demographics and even more complex framing that continues to stir up the conversation in the US.
As a venue or production company you most probably spend a lot of time trying to find out what your audiences want and expect from you. Well, I hope you do. But what about that odd minority group who regularly visit your venue, who perhaps see more productions than the majority of your audience and who may have some impact on your future sales – theatre critics?
The Freedmen and Southern Society Project was established in 1976 to capture the essence of that revolution by depicting the drama of emancipation in the words of the participants: liberated slaves and defeated slaveholders, soldiers and civilians, common folk and the elite, Northerners and Southerners.