Challenging “Post-Racial” America

How I wish I could say that Young Jean Lee was on my radar before today. However, I must thank Kai Wright at The Root for covering and exposing the world to a wonderfully fresh and brilliant theater director, Young Jean Lee.

Imagine a Korean American woman, on the road to scholarship at Berkeley to receive her PhD in English, who decides to focus her playwright talents on race, specifically this "post-racial" America we supposedly live in now that we have a bi-racial president who is half Black.

Imagine a Korean American woman director who explores the stereotypes and the racial perceptions we still hold to when looking across the lines of difference.

No need to imagine anymore.

Just start keeping your eye out for "The Shipment," and other works by Young Jean Lee that gets scratchy and edgy up on stage.

Lee notes an interesting trend where she is often asked how she, a woman of color who is not Black, delves into mix of struggle related to Black identity. Lee set out on "an impossible challenge" when deciding to do this piece which I find admirable and risky.

Perhaps it might be time to understand that artists - of any ethnicity and color - may have the talent, drive, and insight to artistically bring to light the societal challenges that plague us all, and to do so across cultures. Need not be Black to talk about Black struggles; need not be Brown, White or any color to push the envelope or ourselves, so Lee says, but finding many questions on why she, a non-Black woman of color is directing a play about Black issues.

 And I thought this was "post race" America.

by Lisa Factora-Borchers
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Lisa Factora-Borchers is the formal editorial director at Bitch Media. Her work is widely published and she is the editor of the anthology, Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence.



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