Things That Matter

A White Woman Is Going Viral For Saying That Broadway’s ‘Slave Play’ Is Racist Against White People

Black playwright Jeremy O. Harris’ buzzworthy Slave Play, has been both revered and abhorred by audience members. The show has received much critical acclaim after opening a month ago but a recent tirade, caught on camera, of an audience member alleging the play was racist against white people shows just how uncomfortable stories about anti-blackness and white supremacy make viewers. The broadway comedy tells the story of three interracial couples during the Antebellum-era who use slave role-playing as sexual therapy. 

Harris believes the white woman’s rant, which lasted several minutes, was merely life imitating art. The video of the woman’s confrontation went viral. Many people dismissed her expletive-filled rant as “white fragility,” according to the Washington Post. 

Harris shared the video on his own Twitter account.

Harris and an actor sat down for a Q&A after a show. That’s when the white woman got up from her seat and began shouting. She asked how the play wasn’t “racist against white people?” She claimed that there was “a whole bunch of stuff about how white people don’t get how racist they are,” in the video. 

The audience begins to murmur but Harris explains that the play is about eight people and can’t reflect every single person. He told her it was all a metaphor, and if she isn’t like the white characters in his play then good. 

“I never once said that you as a white woman were not a marginalized person,” Harris responds. “But if you heard that in my play, I don’t know what to tell you. Perhaps read it or see it again.”

Harris joked that she gave the audience an amazing second play. Despite grumbles, the woman persistently tried to yell her point until finally storming out of the theater. The audience applauded her departure. 

“The plays shows the unconscious ways that white people take up space, that they don’t leave open for black people,” Harris told The Washington Post. “This play doesn’t necessarily have to be about her … but she did just create her own character.”

Twitter users continued to point out the irony in the woman’s behavior. 

“My fave part of this is that she’s standing up to yell in a theatre about her white oppression. It’s my favorite because 1: oppressed people don’t get to do that. A black man would’ve been arrested for this behavior or worse,” one user wrote on Twitter. “2: she’s sitting in a seat a black person wouldn’t have been able to sit in half a century ago.”

Harris told the Washington Post he didn’t want to be dismissive of the woman, instead, he’d rather engage in a conversation with her. 

“It would have been hypocritical of me as someone who said from the beginning, I wanted this to be a play that sparked conversations,” he told The Washington Post.

Many people thought it was outrageous that the woman’s complaint was that white people were portrayed sympathetically in a play about slavery in the Antebellum era. 

“A play about slavery, and her complaint is that HER experience wasn’t represented? Makes me ashamed to be a white woman,” another user tweeted. 

Slave Play has received criticism from white and black audience members alike. 

There is currently a Change.org petition with over 6,000 signatures to shut down the broadway show. The creator of the petition claims it is anti-black. However, by her own admission the sentiment comes from the predominantly white audience’s reactions to what was in it.

“This past Saturday I attended Slave Play for the 8 pm showing. I wanted to verbalize that this was one of the most disrespectful displays of anti-Black sentiment disguised as art that I have ever seen,” the petition reads. “As a Black woman, I was terribly offended and traumatized by the graphic imagery mixed with laughter from a predominantly white audience.”

Broadway audiences tend to be largely white due to the high cost of tickets. Slave Play hosted a “Black Out” night where discounted tickets were provided to a black audience of 800 — a rarity in broadway. 

“We can succumb to a fear-based culture really easily, especially when bad people are in charge. That’s when we should be the loudest and the most individualistic because that’s the only way to actually combat fascism,” Harris told The Guardian of some of his black critics. “When I speak to artists – especially artists from oppressed groups – I see them necessitating this self-censorship. And I’m like: “No, be free! The only time you can be free in this world is when you’re writing.”

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In Crackdown on Domestic Slavery, Brazilian Authorities Rescued a Maid Who Had Been Enslaved For 40 Years

Things That Matter

In Crackdown on Domestic Slavery, Brazilian Authorities Rescued a Maid Who Had Been Enslaved For 40 Years

Photo: Getty Images

On December 21st, Brazilian authorities revealed that they had rescued a woman from a family who had been keeping her as a domestic slave for nearly 40 years.

The woman was also forced into a marriage with one of the family’s elderly relatives so that the family could continue to cash in on his pension when he died.

According to local authorities, the unnamed woman had been kept in unpaid servitude by the family since she was a child, when her “destitute” family gave her up.

The woman worked as a domestic slave for the family of Unipam university professor Dalton Cesar Milagres Rigueira. Before that, she had worked for Rigueira’s mother, who had “raised” her from childhood.

“They gave her food when she was hungry, but all other rights were taken from her,” said Humberto Camasmie, the inspector in charge of the rescue operation, to Reuters.

Authorities were alerted to the woman’s situation when neighbors tipped off local officials to what they believed was an illegal working situation. According to the neighbors, they grew suspicious when the woman began sending them notes asking for food and sanitary products.

Prosecutors say that Rigueira could face up to eight years in jail.

They are also pushing to get him to monetarily compensate the woman for an undisclosed sum. Authorities are also working to reunite her with her biological family.

After her rescue, the woman was taken to a shelter where she was attended to psychologists and social workers. She is also being provided with a pension of R$ 8,000 ($1,557) a month–seven times higher than Brazil’s minimum wage.

“She did not know what a minimum wage was,” said Camasmie. “Now she’s learning how to use a credit card. She knows that every month she will be paid a substantial amount (from the pension).”

Unfortunately, domestic slavery is a rampant and unchecked problem in Brazil.

To make matters worse, domestic slavery is hard to crack down on because the victims rarely know that they are, indeed, victims. Many of the enslaved women have been unpaid domestic workers since they were small children. Sometimes, they may even feel grateful or indebted to their captors for raising and feeding them.

In June, a similar case made headlines when authorities discovered a 61-year-old had been working as an unpaid maid for an unknown amount of years. The woman was found living in a shed. Her “employer” was an executive for the cosmetics company, Avon.

“The longer the victim remains in the home environment with deprivation of … rights, the more difficult it is to (carry out a) rescue,” said Mauricio Krepsky, head of the Division of Inspection for the Eradication of Slave Labor, to Reuters in August.

These enslaved maids are given little freedom to leave the house, see other people, or have time off. They are never paid. They are completely reliant on the families they serve.

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The Father And Son Who Killed Ahmaud Arbery Don’t Want Him To Be Called A “Victim” In Upcoming Court Case

Things That Matter

The Father And Son Who Killed Ahmaud Arbery Don’t Want Him To Be Called A “Victim” In Upcoming Court Case

Sean Rayford / Getty Images

The men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery have some outrageous requests for their upcoming murder trial that really show just how far many will go protect white supremacy.

Despite their being video evidence of them chasing and shooting Arbery, the father and son are requesting that Arbery never be referred to as a victim. What the actual f***?!

Arbery’s killers are asking a judge to prohibit referring to Arbery as a “victim.”

The men responsible for Ahmaud Arbery’s death have a litany of requests for their upcoming murder trial – notably, they don’t want the word “victim” uttered in court while referring to the man they murdered.

Defense attorneys for Travis and Greg McMichael – the father and son who chased Arbery down with their truck and then proceeded to shoot and kill him in a struggle – have filed new motions in their trial. They want to prohibit the prosecution from ever referring to Arbery as a victim in front of the jury, because they say that’s a conclusion that can’t be reached before a verdict.

“The purpose of this motion is to prevent the prosecution from ignoring its duty to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that crimes were actually committed and that the McMichaels committed the crimes as charged,” states the four-page motion, signed by lawyers Franklin and Laura Hogue, Robert Rubin and Jason Sheffield.

According to the motion, the McMichaels argue no crime has been committed – remember, they’ve pled not guilty and argued self-defense. As a result, they say “loaded words” like “victim” might prejudice jurors against them from the jump.

But there’s more: his killers are asking the judge to only allow one photo of Arbery.

Their unbelievable antics don’t stop with the word “victim.” Defense attorneys are also requesting that only one “in life” photograph be permitted at trial to depict Arbery – and that the photo show him alone without any family members or friends. Not just that, but the defense asks that no family member of his be able to identify him in court, they want that done by an unrelated, third party witness, if necessary.

The reason: they argue too many photos of Arbery will create an ingrained bias in the jury’s collective mind, and paint him as a sympathetic character. They say they don’t want his family involved in ID’ing either because of possible emotional outbursts, which may also affect the jurors. So in other words, the McMichaels want this as sterile as possible.

One last thing: the McMichaels have asked that Black Lives Matter face masks not be permitted in court, that any jail calls they’ve made be stricken as usable evidence, but that Ahmaud’s criminal record be admissible. Again, what the actual f***?!

Arbery’s murder made headlines over the summer as he was chased and gunned down while out on a jog.

Credit: Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Arbery was killed on 23 February last year in Brunswick, Georgia, while out jogging. Prosecutors allege that Gregory McMichael, 64, a retired police detective, and his son Travis, 34, chased Arbery in their truck and initiated a confrontation that ended with Travis McMichael shooting Arbery dead.

Arbery’s killing sparked outrage in the local community and nationally, particularly after it was revealed that local law enforcement initially refused to arrest the suspects and a prosecutor, who later recused himself, wrote a memorandum explaining why he believed the killing was legally justified.

The McMichaels told detectives they believed Arbery, a trained electrician, was responsible for a string of burglaries in their neighbourhood, and merely wanted to ask him about them. They were arrested more than two months after the shooting, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case.

A judge has yet to weigh in, and a trial date isn’t set.

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