One would think that living and working in a globally-oriented, diversity-embracing, socially and politically liberal city such as Chicago as a highly-educated, professionally-mobile gay person of color, I would never feel like I’m being treated differently because I’m “gay” and/or because I’m a “person of color”. And 99% of the time I don’t. But there is that 1% of the time when I am made very conscious by other people, some of them highly-educated and professionally-mobile as well, intentionally or not, that I am living in a society where I am a minority. There’s that time when a client requested for another consultant to take my place on a project since I wasn’t a “fit” with their corporate culture. “Client fit” is a necessary hazard of my professional services occupation, so everyone took it in stride, including myself. But my co-workers and I knew what this client’s corporate culture was – macho, blue-collar, Alpha-male, and “not a fit” was a nice way of saying something else. Or there was that time when an acquaintance long-gone, a University of Chicago MBA to boot, sheepishly, embarrassedly, asked me: “I hope you’re not offended, but I really have to ask this, do Filipinos really eat black dogs?” My flippant answer, followed by a laugh, meant to mask any embarrassment, shame, anger, or hurt feelings (and the ridiculous fact that she didn’t really have to ask it): “No, we eat all colors of dog.” Of course I am infuriated and offended by these situations, but I have also recognized that someone’s values, perspectives, opinions, and intolerances are cultivated by upbringing and experience, and education, enlightenment, and constructive debate can only do so much in re-shaping these. Hey, I have some myself which I keep unexpressed. That’s why I applaud heartily, rousingly, with feet firmly planted in a standing ovation, the Goodman Theatre’s audacious, divisive, blistering, expectations-upending world premiere of Thomas Bradshaw’s Mary, a show that has been vigorously hated on by many of the city’s theater critics and bloggers, but which I encourage my blog readers to discover for themselves so they can come to their own conclusions about the value and impact of the work. I may not like all of Mary, and I have some reservations about Bradshaw’s writing, but I highly recommend it.
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Tags: Goodman Theatre