View Full Version : School's performance of 'Ragtime' will include n-word

The Bobster
01-25-2017, 06:19 AM

Debate Rages As NJ School Board Pulls N-Word From High School Musical
January 24, 2017 11:07 PM By Alexandria Hoff

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Ragtime is a musical set in 20th century America, that explores racism and classism. The question on Tuesday night surrounded whether or not the N-word is necessary in telling the story of that time.

Following the complaint, the Cherry Hill School Board made the decision last week to remove the N-word from the musical, scheduled to debut in March. A large crowd of students and alumni of Cherry Hill East filled Tuesday night’s board meeting in protest.

Over 1,200 also signed a petition asking the board to reverse their decision. They say, to remove the word is to sanitize history and its lessons.

Others feel the use glorifies an ugly word that served a cruel purpose for too long.

“I and we don’t need to be refreshed on what racism is by the unfettered use of this word and like phrases in a high school play, or musical,” one man in attendance said.

“I ask you please, reconsider. Let these kids say these words that were unfortunately the norm and let them moments later walk off that stage to realize how lucky they are to be where they are and accomplish things that these characters and real life people of this time could only dream of,” a woman in attendance argued.

A major concern is that even if the board wanted that one word replaced, the licensor could and likely will say no. If that is the case, the show won’t go on at all.

The Bobster
01-28-2017, 07:22 AM

School Officials To Allow Use Of Enwerd In Cherry Hill High School Play
January 27, 2017 6:36 PM

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) – A New Jersey high school will allow students to utter racial slurs during performances of “Ragtime.” Cherry Hill school district officials said in a letter Friday that after much discussion the musical will go on as written, including the slurs.

Superintendent Joseph Meloche said officials will make it clear that they “loathe the N-word.”

“These are tumultuous, difficult times,” he wrote. “We believe that while these difficult times provide challenges in our educational community, they also provide an opportunity and an obligation to educate.”

Officials had planned to remove the word from the show due to debut March 10 at Cherry Hill High School East, following complaints from a parent and civil rights groups. They also said disparaging lines from the musical targeting other ethnic groups also would be removed.

But that was met with resistance by students and community members of all races who say it would be wrong to sanitize the show.

They argued it’s an accurate portrayal of the racist attitudes that many people held in the early 20th century, when the Tony Award-winning musical is set. Some Broadway actors and arts groups agree with that argument.

The issue was the focus of a lengthy public meeting Tuesday attended by about 100 people.

Officials have noted that if the script is altered in any way, the agency that licenses the musical will likely rescind its permission for the district to perform the show, which is based on the 1975 novel by E.L. Doctorow and includes themes of racism, intolerance and injustice.