“I am a white student in the School of Drama, and I was assigned to a play written, directed, and acted all by Black artists that addressed issues of racism, police brutality, homelessness, and class. I watched as this production, in stark contrast to the white-written, directed, and acted pieces I had been assigned to work on in the past, received very little institutional support including high-level communication errors from white faculty and leadership.

Furthermore, when Black students started to raise concerns over having a talkback with what was bound to be a primarily white audience, white leadership refused to listen, more concerned about the optics of one of the only plays created by Black artists not having a talkback, and in particular assumed backlash from the Black students in the School of Drama. I watched as my advisor tried to ask my Black assistant to speak for the entire Black community in our school, and disregarded the messages I tried to share from my Black collaborators about the talkback.

The School of Drama, frankly, has a real problem with "token Black plays." They'll program in one or two plays by Black playwrights, usually about racism, and parade them around to show how progressive they are. But all throughout the processes of making these productions reality, white leadership consistently steps back and ignores problems and concerns. It's all about optics. It's not about progress.”

-Anonymous current student