The woke movement continues to make progress across seemingly all facets of our existence, but might it finally have peaked with this story about one woman refusing white critics to review her play?
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Playwright Yolanda Bonnell is a two-spirit, Ojibwe/South Asian performer who has written a new play entitled Bug, which is now playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto with the aim of taking a stand against colonialism. With this in mind, Bonnell has requested that no white people from the media review the play and that only indigenous, black or other people of colour review the play.
If you’re a little confused about the intentions on that, then here she is explaining it in the thoroughness of a degree student’s philosophy essay:
There is an aspect to cultural work—or in our case, artistic ceremony— which does not align with current colonial reviewing practices.
In order to encourage a deeper discussion of the work, we are inviting critiques or thoughts from IBPOC folks only.
There is a specific lens that white settlers view cultural work through and at this time, we’re just not interested in bolstering that view, but rather the thoughts and views of fellow marginalized voices, and in particular Indigenous women.
You could hear perhaps a white critic, more likely someone on the internet, but a white critic say something like, ‘You know, I may be white but I don’t see things through that lens, what would you say?’
You can’t help but see things through that lens. We all have lenses that we see the world through and it directly correlates to our life experience.
Unless you’re an Indigenous woman you don’t know what it’s like to be an Indigenous woman. Unless your a two-spirit individual or a trans, or non-binary you don’t know what that experience is like.
So if somebody is writing a story about that, the lens that you’re viewing it through, its directly going to affect how you view that story, or how you write about it. There are going to be aspects that you don’t understand.
We, as people of colour, understand whiteness to its core because we’ve grown up with it, especially people who’ve grown up here in Canada.
My friend, a wonderful Indigenous playwright from the west coast Kim Senklip Harvey says she has her ‘ Ph.D. in whiteness’ and I feel very much similar.
I mean I don’t even wanna get into this debate because essentially I’m white and so by my very nature it seems like I don’t have a voice that should be allowed to comment on something like this. To be fair I don’t really understand it so I probably wouldn’t have much to say anyway, I can just offer my best wishes to Bonnell and hope that her play does well and the reviews are to her liking. Good luck.
For more wokeness, check out the dangerous rise of men who are refusing to date woke women. Crazy.