Follow-Up On Everett’s The Freedom Project Or, How “White Ladies” and “Thugs” Must Work Together To Make Things Better

26 Mar

I received a note from Dorothy Jungels, co-founder and Artistic Director of Everett, after she read yesterday’s post, I Should Tell You About Everett Company, Stage & School’s The Freedom Project (Instead Of My MJ Magazine)

Dorothy generously thanked me and then she gave me her insights into the evenings’ performance and talk-back.  I had failed to mention in my post that when the young boy at the center of the A Boy Named Nothing performance meets up with dancer Sokeo Ros, who represents Scar Face, or the “bad guy,”  Scar Face convinces the boy that they need him to be the bad guy because it makes them look good.

Here’s an excerpt of Dorothy’s note, that gave me another perspective on how to frame what I witnessed at the Everett performance:

You asked if I had anything else to tell you…a little more about Scar Face. It’s interesting if we put the whole night in Archetypes. Scar Face accepts the ‘bad guy’ role but knows that he is a scapegoat for society. I thought it was interesting that ‘the white ladies’ became the scapegoat that night and let’s face it, they and the young men are getting all the blame in our schools and society. The war on drugs and the war on teachers target the two populations. So maybe, really ,they are a wonderful match if they can figure things out together. Theresa Fox has certainly figured it out and even as she says she is “going Rogue” she parallels the young men that are going ‘thug’.

My daughter Therese is also a teacher in middle school and fights the battle everyday with love, cookies and good math skills. Thank god for the white ladies. In some ways I’ve stopped being a white lady myself, I’m much more related to the ‘thug’ or radical in me now–but I love them with all my heart.

Thank you for writing. We need to keep these problems and solutions on our minds.

 

And so my mind was blown.   I can be so quick to look at things, and merely label people as racist, or as calling others out on racism, or noting people being defensive about racism.  Here Dorothy showed me there is a whole other way to look at what was really going on in the performance and the interaction between the audience and the presenters.

I love her take on the “white lady” teachers and the supposed kids of color “thugs” running parallel to one another, and even flipping, and ultimately, being the two scapegoats who will have to reach out to one another and work together to fix this mess of the inequities in school resources, disparities in school discipline, and the detriment of standardized testing, so that all of our children, black, brown and white, and their teachers, can go back to being a true community of human beings teaching and learning, instead of just numbers in the numbers game of the companies that are in the business of school testing and private prisons.

Thank you again, Dorothy for opening this “white lady’s” eyes a whole lot wider.

 

4 Responses to “Follow-Up On Everett’s The Freedom Project Or, How “White Ladies” and “Thugs” Must Work Together To Make Things Better”

  1. Sherry Gordon March 26, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    Dear Wendy Jane,
    Hi, there, Wendy Jane! Your insightful added perspective and the great input from the cofounder Dorothy Jungels I think are really right on and important! I, too, love the idea and process of myself as a lesbian black/African-American woman working together in love as allies and in solidarity with especially white women and other white people, and all people-white people with black people and other people of color working together in our love for one another in our shared community, society, and human family! How wonderful are your sharings, Wendy Jane, and the super thoughts which Dorothy Jungels offered! I share the same dreams in my heart as well! I want all of us in our shared humanity to work together! And I like how there is the perspective offered that white women can be seen as scapegoats as well who work in unison with the other people they are helping and with whom they are working! I thank both you and Dorothy Jungels for your precious and perceptive words, thoughts, and ideas in processing all of these perspectives! Thank-you, thank-you so, so much, Wendy Jane for sharing on this! Have a very nice, special, and a very blessed day! Very sincerely always, Sherry Gordon

    • Wendy Jane March 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Thank you, Sherry–Like you I’ve always wanted that ideal of everyone as you say, living and working together in love as allies, and now I’m just coming into this place of more formally having that be a more active part of my life, instead of just being wishful about it. It’s wonderful for me to hear that you have the same dreams in your heart, too. Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts, feelings, and desire for action with me, and others here.

  2. Justine March 28, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Thank you for this follow up Wendy! I agree with Dorothy! Everyone ALWAYS blames the teachers and the “bad kids”. How about instead of blaming we all come together and try to actually make some REAL change. There are no QUICK & EASY answers! THIS IS A HUGE issue with many different small problems that are causing it. It will take a long time, a lot of hard work and it WILL NOT BE EASY. But if we stay away from the BLAME CHAIN we might just get somewhere.

    Thank you WENDY!

    • Wendy Jane March 30, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful comments, Justine. I agree with you both. Blaming doesn’t help. We can honestly acknowledge the inequities, and like you say, the many things that need better solutions, and then work together to fix them. None of us want things to be as broken as they are.

      Thank you, Justine, for being an advocate for positive social change through your great artistic work.

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