You can’t make words disappear from existence
The Cherry Hill High School controversy about its performance of "Ragtime", which contains several utterances of "the word," is so silly. Why? Because you can't make words disappear from existence.
It's like saying "close your eyes and don't picture an elephant." In order to "unthink" the elephant, you've got to first picture the elephant, since as humans, we think in words.
Before you argue that I can't relate because I'm not black, I dare you to try to change any of the classic works of art, plays or movies that depict anti-semitism or the holocaust (a much more recent historical event).
If we give in to this, we set a precedent where we change history, art and culture to fit our very fragile sensibilities. Let's pretend bad stuff never happened! Isn't that the opposite of what we as Americans are supposed to believe? That we learn from our mistakes? That our history makes us stronger? That if we forget history, we are doomed to repeat it?
How about those unfortunate examples of works Shakespeare's works that by today's standards are so offensive that they should be banned: "The Merchant of Venice" (anti-Semitism) or the "Taming of the Shrew" (sexism).
The themes are unapologetic in both of these and certainly go deeper than one offensive word. But get ready for it, kids, these are next. The "cleansing" of our classic works begins. Never mind that "Ragtime" has its own message which is so much more powerful and can teach more of a lesson than that one word ever could.
Even the licensing company, musical theater international, who'd have to approve removing the n word from the script, seems to be scratching its head, basically saying, um, no.
Superintendent Joseph Meloche said giving voice to the N-word “continues to breathe life into it. The word exists. I wish it didn’t.” But it does, and actually what has breathed more life into it is this ridiculous flap they're making.
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