So, my daughter is talented. Big time. She got a drama award at her school last week and in March, an ensemble award in a theater group she is in, and last summer, an ensemble award. She is told in every play or skit or acting class that she attends that she is the most dedicated and talented, but constantly gets screwed over. She is bi-racial, though many people aren’t sure what race her dad is when they see her, she is not just white. So being that drama kids are mostly white in our area at least, is racial discrimination a possibility? Or is she being pushed to the side because of the weird society we now live in where there are 3 valedictorian’s and 2 homecoming queens? Or both? She didn’t get a main role (but an understudy) because the upper classmen get those, but what if those people suck? If she is more talented, why chose someone older to make it “fair”?
So, she got an understudy role for a character that has the least stage time. People constantly tell her at her school that she is the drama teacher’s favorite, so why the diss? I am not an overly liberal person who constantly jumps to the conclusion that someone is being wronged or mistreated because of x, y, or z. I mean yes, there is systemic racism. Or elitism in certain organizations towards people of color or certain socioeconomic backgrounds, or even genders, no doubt. But it is rare to hear me use one of the ism’s to explain why something is not the way that I want it to be. In some cases that is what people do, if they don’t get what they feel they deserve, they blame it on something else, even if they aren’t the best choice or most talented, etc. But that is not always the case.
As much as I think that people deserve things based on merit, as aforementioned, there are marginalized people who are completely left out at times based on superficiality. And they have a right to use an ‘ism word to explain why what is happening to them is happening. Like an overweight woman who is extremely educated and experienced who gets passed over for promotions while a seemingly more attractive woman with less of a resume miraculously moves up in the company quickly. Or if a person of color is the best and the brightest in the office, but has been stuck in the same position for years despite efforts to move up, though they have the best track record. As forward thinking and as far as we have come, our society, even on a middle school level is about politricks and favoritism.
I am not the type of person that expects something for nothing or gets up in arms if I don’t get exactly what I deserve because I am used to busting my a– and not being on top. Life is not fair. Though for some it seems to be easier than others. That is just the way the cookie crumbles, it seems. My daughter is not like that either. But just in the way that our too lenient society wants to make everything equal so that everyone can win (an unrealistic utopia state) she wants her talent to be recognized so that she can shine and win. A friend of mine told me that theater like dance can be very political, and looking back, I can see cases where some of the worst actors have gotten the main roles because of their parents or what their parent was doing for the director or the show. And it often involves dollar signs.
We have seen some extreme stage moms whose behavior was deplorable, and surprisingly, despite their actions, their kids got the roles they wanted. You think it would be the opposite. We have also witnessed situations where parents were on the board, so of course their children must be cast. And these people are some of the most ill-prepared and undisciplined actors that you have ever seen, but they have some kind of vested interest. I guess that is more important even in school theater than a person committing to a character and espousing the role to the fullest.
Not my usual post tonight. But sometimes ya gotta say what’s on your mind. Have any of you as children faced this kind of thing when you were in the arts? Or did you face this as a kid? Feeling like your sparkle was dulled due to unfair treatment or being passed over unfairly? Would love to hear all about it.
2 thoughts on “So, how do you know when it is discrimination or just politics? Or both?”
Thanks for sharing, I think you made a lot of great points here.
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