Interesting article in the Washington Post on Saturday about the casting of a black student to play Huck and a white student to play Jim in a high-school play. The organization licensing the rights to the musical objected: “To ignore the racial component of Huck Finn does a disservice to the story” and “The ethnicity of the characters of Huckleberry Finn and Jim cannot be questioned.”
The p.c. odor here is unmistakable, doncha think?: Just as we were told, “It’s a black thing—you wouldn’t understand,” so we are being told now that it is presumptuous for anyone but an African American to wear the mantle of ex-slave. This victimhood is too valuable to share. How can we preserve identity politics if identities are not jealously guarded? And whites, conversely, but never be allowed to shed their identities as slaveholders and oppressors.
Of course, had a black student been told that he could play only a slave and was not eligible to star, then there really would have been a furor (and rightly so). Sometimes you just can’t win.