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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tonight's the night ... and I'm so-oo-o on edge ... .

Eugene'O'Neill's "All God's Chillun Got Wings" will be staged at a premiere with reception this evening. I'm sitting here pretending that I'm not concerned. Not true.

It feels as if all that I could have done was achieved, but my fear is that it will be another missed opportunity to engage the Danville community in a meaningful dialogue that may bring the understanding that the great playwright and his star, Paul Robeson, were seeking.

The subtleties are easily missed. I'm not at all sure that I was able to adequately raise the awareness necessary for this to be anything more than either a polite exchange of niceties, or, a surface conversation that won't bring us (me!) past the "n word" utterances. I so want to see myself as sophisticated. Knowing. Erudite. Beyond hurt feelings over mere words. Down deep I'm not at all sure that's true. And if it isn't...what does one do?

Read a brilliant article today written by Tim Wise. It was carried in AlterNet; the subject being White Privilege. It was penetrating in its simplicity, and easy to toss off as something meant for those others. I'm sure that most of tonight's audience would deny the concept as applying to their lives in any way.

I may easily be one of a very few persons of color in tonight's audience.

By the end of the evening -- I will probably be firmly in the camp of "other."

Maybe that's what is so disturbing ... .

Tomorrow I'll let you know how we fared.

Photo: Eugene O'Neill in his study in Tao House where he wrote his most penetrating prize-winning plays. This is now a National Park site and one of the four parks within our management orbit.

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