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Shakespeare and Racism/Sexism
In Response To: A New Home for Shakespeare ()

The play "Midsummer Night's Dream: A Comic Jewish Satire" combines elements of Jewish pride, black pride, feminist pride, and perhaps to a lesser extent even gay/lesbian pride. The potential is there for a hysterically funny parody of rainbow coalition agendas. However, the creators evidently want to be taken seriously in their social engineering. This, I think, is where the production goes way over the top.

We cannot take seriously a play that promotes a woman living in England in the 16th Century as black and African-American. Nor can we entertain that this same woman was Jewish when her mother was English and her father's family Catholics (converted to Protestantism). The characteristics of this woman are obviously being distorted to generate publicity and sell tickets. Yet, to challenge the claims of such a splendid artsy-fartsy event puts one at the risk of being called a racist. We are supposed to wink at such leaps of imagination in the name of racial and religious harmony or to make amends for previous injustices. But at what point do minorities, women, and people in general become offended by these kinds of gratuitous cultural handouts?

I believe in giving credit where credit is due. If it can be reasonably proven that the writings of Shakespeare came from a black Jewish woman who also had knowledge of Roman authorship of the Gospels, then by all means let's celebrate that. But if not, let's recognize the theory behind this "Comic Jewish Satire" as bad, irresponsible, and even racist scholarship. Let's not confuse history with fantasy, let's not rewrite history just to make ourselves feel better about the present.

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