Huntington High School’s staging of the play “Thoroughly Modern Millie” this weekend provoked a protest by Asian-Americans who say the play is racist.
Newsday said protesters gathered at the high school Saturday night, on the second day of the performance, with signs that read “Racism is not entertainment” and “Say no to racist show.”
A man who contacted HuntingtonNow on Sunday said he had walked out of the play because he found the material so offensive.
“Growing up Asian-American in my community where we are few and far between was tough enough already.“I saw it this afternoon and left halfway through. It’s racist and it hurts. I’m angry. We are easy targets: we are immigrants and we are the minority of the minorities in my town. We are 2% of the student population here. We don’t have strong voices here. Shout-out to Huntington High School for going low and targeting us for ridicule.“To my Asian-American friends: whenever you see something that’s this racist, please stand up and speak up. Please be loud. Please defy the stereotype of staying quiet about this stuff. I’m tired of that stereotype. Kudos to my mom (who has an accent herself and watched the play with me) for speaking about this at the next Board of Ed meeting.“I’m real tired of this nonsense.”
The play, based on the film of the same name that was produced in 1967, is set in the 1920s. It depicts a young woman who comes from Kansas to New York City to make her fortune but includes a subplot about white slavery and China.
Newsday said School Superintendent James W. Polansky said in a statement the intention of the students and staff behind the production “was obviously never to disparage any individual or group.”
” All are committed to viewing this as an educational opportunity – one that allows for open and productive discussion on any of the issues presented,” Polansky said in the statement.