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Sunday, November 20, 2016

If they're not white, it can't be racism. Really?

"Hamilton" cast

"Hamilton," the Broadway musical that won kudos for casting black and Latino performers, is being questioned regarding its hiring practices as they might be in violation of New York City Human Rights Law. 

Specifically, the casting notice clearly seeks "non-white" performers to play the white founding fathers of America. One critic said the musical takes a story that "valorizes dead white guys" and replaces them with black, Latino and multi-ethnic performers to play those roles.

Isn't that similar, in a way, to those people who claim to be war heroes but have never actually served in the military? It's called stolen valor and actual war veterans are appalled by it.

As "Hamilton" plans to expand to other cities, the casting notice calling for "non'white" performers is being questioned by civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin.
Jeffrey Seller and his husband

"What if they put an ad out that said, 'Whites only need apply?'" McLaughlin said. "Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged."

He believes the ad violates the New York City Human Rights Law making it unlawful "for an employer . . . because of the actual written or perceived . . . race of any person, to discriminate."

"You cannot advertise showing that you have a preference for one racial group over another," McLaughlin said. "As an artistic quiestion, sure, he can cast whomever he wants to cast, but he has to give every actor eligible for the role an opportunity to try."

Even Actors Equity, the Broadway union says, " . . . producers agree that auditions for all productions . . . will be conducted in such a manner as to provide full and fair consideration to actors of all ethnicities."

But Actors Equity approved of the language in the casting notice.


Because it's only racism when it comes from white people.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that McLaughlin is labeled a racist because of his concerns over the obvious racism of the casting notice.

The show's producter Jeffrey Seller defended the diversity of the "Hamilton" cast and the legality of the "non-white" casting notice. "I stand by it and believe it to be legal," he said, believing that legality equates to morality and ethics.

Alexander Hamilton
The city Commission on Human Rights claims it hasn't received a formal complaint about the ad, nor would they say if they're investigating. Probably not since this has nothing to do with which bathrooms people are allowed to use.

According to CBS2, the city has fined restaurants for advertising for "busboys" and "waitresses" rather than using the gender neutral terms "bus help" and "wait staff."

As a New York City male chromosome person, born and bred, I will not be attending "Hamilton." 

Does that make me a racist? If so, please don't tell my wife--she isn't white.