Oh, Brother: Tarzan Deemed Too Racist for High School Play

The story of Tarzan has been an enduring part of our pop culture landscape since author Edgar Rice Burroughs first set pen to paper in 1912. It has been made into countless movies, television shows, and even formed the basis of a megahit Disney cartoon in the late 1990s. Until now, it seemed that most Americans missed the horrible, racist ramifications of this beloved tale. But worry not, because the outrage crusaders are back for yet another outing. This time, they are trying to take the famed Ape Man out of commission.

From the Washington Post:

On Dec. 4, students at Alexander Hamilton High School in Elmsford, N.Y., would have the chance to flaunt their vocal chops with the hopes of landing a role in the drama club’s highly anticipated spring musical: Disney’s “Tarzan.”

But just days before the scheduled tryouts, administrators announced a change of plans. Instead of “Tarzan,” the Westchester County high school would be putting on a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”

The reason for the abrupt change? Two parents complained about racism.

“The concerns were over the original story line behind ‘Tarzan of the Apes,’ ” Elmsford Union Free School District Superintendent Marc P. Baiocco told the Journal News, referencing Edgar Rice Burroughs’s story, which was first published in 1912.

Baiocco added that the parents were also troubled by the possibility that nonwhite students would appear as apes onstage. According to state education data, the district that includes Alexander Hamilton serves a diverse student population. More than 50 percent of students are Hispanic or Latino and about 23 percent are black or African American.

Allrighty then. A few points. One: Two measly parents complained, and the high school canceled the production? Two: Two parents complained, and that was enough to put this story into the Washington Post? Three: White students make up less than a quarter of this school’s population, and they’re still worried about racism? Four: “the possibility that nonwhite students would appear as apes onstage”? Are you serious??

As is usually the case when school administrators give in to special snowflakes, parents are already complaining that it’s not “good enough” to simply cancel the play.

“People of color should not have to justify their lived experience or their historical experience, the experience of their ancestors,” one parent said. “Upon cancellation of the performance, students should have been educated as to why it was changed. Not just, ‘It’s over.’ ”

Right. It is apparently this person’s “lived experience” to traverse the African jungles, stalked by a man raised by apes.

The ridiculousness continues…


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