Shall we dance? Cancel culture claims its latest victim

Shall we dance? Cancel culture claims its latest victim

Racism is a serious problem. Sadly over the past decade or so, the Left has made it seem unserious by promoting stories like one that ran in the New York Times a couple of weeks back. The title, “Black Ballerina, Playing a Swan, Says She Was Told to Color Her Skin,” does send up alarms, conjuring images of white people in blackface, which is a career ender … unless you’re a Democrat.

Here’s the lede of the Times piece:

Chloé Lopes Gomes had done her hair and makeup and fixed the feathered swan headdress in place before the rehearsal in February. Then, she later recounted, she repeatedly dipped a wet sponge into a pot of white pancake makeup, applying it carefully to her face, neck and upper body.

Ms. Lopes Gomes, who is French, is the only Black female dancer at the Staatsballett Berlin, and just a few days earlier, she said in an interview, one of the company’s ballet mistresses had told her to use the white makeup to color her skin for “Swan Lake.”

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It still sounds a little dicey until you get to the twelfth paragraph, which advises:

The practice of female dancers powdering or painting their bodies to look whiter probably dates from the mid-19th century, when romantic ballets like “Giselle” or “La Sylphide” popularized ethereal creatures who were variously ghosts, spirits or enchanted beings — like women who were turned into swans.

So Gomes wasn’t singled out, as the title of the article implies. All the dancers portraying swans were told to apply the paint. It was part of the job description.

Heather Mac Donald captures the bitter irony in a commentary at City Journal, which begins:

The New York Times has published the latest installment in its running tally of alleged racism in the high arts: the Staatsballett Berlin (Berlin State Ballet) treated a black ballerina differently because of the color of her skin. Oh, wait! That was yesterday’s template. Today’s is that a black ballerina was treated the same as white ballerinas. The search for racism requires just such rhetorical nimbleness.

The fascination with ferreting out reasons to feel indignant and seek out change only serves to fuel resentment and derision from non-radicals. Sadly, this incident has claimed another victim. As Mac Donald dolefully notes:

The Staatsballett Berlin issued a groveling apology, taking responsibility for society’s “structural racism.” The company has promised to hire the usual phalanx of diversity trainers to provide mandatory antiracism workshops. The organization will also examine its repertory for “outdated and discriminatory ways of performing” and will “re-evaluate” its “longstanding traditions,” it says.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.

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