Knox College Cancels Play with Asian Characters over ‘Whitewashing’ Concerns

European Council

The theater department at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, has canceled a production of The Good Person of Szechwan over concerns that white actors may be cast to play Asian characters.

Two senior students at the college condemned the department’s decision to select the play The Good Person of Szechwan on grounds that there weren’t enough Asian students to fill the cast. The play focuses on a Chinese sex worker who seeks to do “good deeds.”

“It’s a play that’s set in China. What Neil is doing, as far as I understand, is taking that and moving that to a Europe centralized setting. Which then makes sure all the characters could be white,” sophomore Joel Willison complained.

“Students of color have time and time again expressed their concerns about the department’s tendency to stereotype, tokenize and demean minority groups [no evidence given],” the college newspaper’s editorial board wrote in a column. “This treatment of students must stop and can only be stopped by the professors taking the time to actively listen to their students.”

Ultimately, the department announced that auditions for the play had been canceled. Not long after, it was announced that the production had been shut down altogether.

Brandeis University came under fire earlier this month after they canceled the production of a play that was deemed too politically incorrect. The play, Buyer Beware, was written by Academy Award-nominated Brandeis University alumnus Michael Weller and focuses on a fictional Brandeis student who plans to perform a provocative stand-up comedy routine that touches on hot-button political issues.


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