Letter: Don’t assume racism in the arts



Regarding Marianna Woods’ letter of June 11, “Offensive word choice,” I recall, some decades ago, I was so moved by the vinyl masterpiece “Jesus Christ Superstar,” experiencing the musical as well as the movie was a given.

At the time, after experiencing all three I questioned why, in the album, the role of Judas Iscariot was performed by a white artist, Murray Head, while in the musical and subsequent movie, the role of Judas was performed by two African American artists, Ben Vereen and Carl Anderson.

I wondered if there was some underlying, intentional reason for making the visual of one of the most, if not the most, despised characters among believers a black man. Was it meant to send a message? Did that make me a racist because I could imagine such a thing?


It has become painfully obvious that in America racism is alive and well for any number of reasons. And though I agree Ellen Weist might have displayed insensitivity in her poor choice of words, I would not be inclined, seeing the word used in context, to necessarily brand her a racist. I would hope we can reserve that title for those who actually deserve it and keep it out of the arts if at all possible.

Racism is the byproduct of ignorant, narrow minded people. Though I’ve never met her, I’m not inclined to believe Weist is either.

Gary D. Ruiz

Murray





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