NON-WHITES ONLY: Broadway’s Racial Casting Call
Even if you’ve never been within a thousand miles of Manhattan, you’ve probably heard about “Hamilton,” the smash Broadway hit that has even attracted praise from the president of the United States. The play features minorities in historical roles such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Alexander that gives the show its name. The only role played by a white man is that of King George III, who is the villain of the piece.
According to the play’s writer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the hip-hop musical is intended to open up American history to those who feel alienated by the usual portrayal of the country’s founding. “Our cast looks like America looks now, and that’s certainly intentional,” he said. “It’s a way of pulling you into the story and allowing you to leave whatever cultural baggage you have about the founding fathers at the door. We’re telling the story of old, dead white men but we’re using actors of color, and that makes the story more immediate and more accessible to a contemporary audience.”
Lordy. Can you even imagine if…well, it’s been said a million times, you get it.
Anyway, the play attracted some criticism this week after producers released a casting call. “‘Hamilton’ is seeking NON-WHITE men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for Broadway and upcoming Tours,” said the ad.
Maybe it was the all-caps, but the ad was enough to irritate some who saw it as both racist and illegal. Of course, all of the mainstream outlets that covered the controversy did so from a biased perspective that waved away the concerns almost as soon as they relayed them. One newspaper stopped as low as to fill the article with commentary from teenage actors, as though a 15-year-old’s opinion stands as the final word on the subject.
What was it, two months ago when everyone was in a tizzy about black actors being shut out of the Oscars? And how many times have we heard activist groups complain about Hollywood casting white actors in roles that should have been played by minorities? Look, a filmmaker or playwright should be able to cast their show in any way they see fit. But that goes both ways. Unless white people are inherently evil, this double-standard doesn’t work.
Under the surface, this is a picture of liberalism in action. The American left has raised a generation of kids to despise this country’s history, to see whites as unconscionable, privileged bigots, and to view “progress” as anything that goes against the past. One Broadway play is no big deal, but it is a symptom of what’s happening. And it’s appropriate that it should be about America’s founding, because it brings to mind an important question:
What happens to a country when there is no shared culture? When races are pitted against each other? When success is seen as a zero-sum game that whites have rigged for 200 years?
The answers, rest assured, are not promising.