Black ‘n’ White!
A drama – based on the 50-year-old novel ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’- has created a record in New York by earning USD 1.7 million within the first week! Although some other plays have earned more than that, those are not based on American novels. While noted Hollywood scriptwriter Aaron Benjamin Sorkin has written the script, famous actor Jeffrey Warren Daniels has played the role of Atticus Finch, a fictional character in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of 1960.
Long ago, the novel found its place in school syllabus, as the concerned authorities in the US thought that the move would help the society get rid of racism. They also thought that the novel would encourage students to keep themselves away from the racist mentality and to be sympathetic towards their co-citizens.
The novel is about a black American who was accused of raping a woman. Atticus – the father of a six-year-old girl and a white, defended the accused in the court, despite various obstacles. He established in the court that the black American was innocent, and the complainant and her father made false allegations against him. Unfortunately, the jury found the black gentleman guilty, despite knowing the actual facts! After the verdict was delivered, the six-year-old girl lost faith in the judiciary.
Indeed, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a great novel. However, it’s interesting that a drama, based on a 50-year-old novel, has been staged in the US and the effort has got a huge success! Perhaps, the secret behind this success is the current social environment in Donald Trump’s America.
The nation, which was considered as a holy place of tolerance a few years ago, is stricken with hatred today thanks to its President, who loves to make controversial comments on a regular basis. Perhaps, he doesn’t realise that his comments hurt the humanity! In such an environment, a 50-year-old novel can easily become the Bible! The success of the drama in New York shows that people have started rejecting the ‘environment of hatred’. May be, the play has helped the Americans revise the ‘lessons of tolerance’.
Former England cricketer Mike Brearley’s new publication ‘On Cricket‘ has recently been published. In this book, Brearley – a conspicuously successful captain of the English cricket team and a practising psychoanalyst – writes: “Of course hyper-sensitivity, a victim mentality, oversimplification and political correctness may become onerous and call for opposition. But the issue of racism is a deep and insidious blight in most if not all societies. We are right to get worked up about dismissing too carelessly the hurt caused. We should not turn a blind eye to flippant or casual racism. We correctly prioritise the damage of racist attitudes, and hold others and ourselves to account for assumptions of superiority or entitlement.”
Perhaps, the former English player’s views on racism are immensely important in the modern world, keeping in mind the increasing intolerance throughout the globe! Most of the occasions, people don’t even protest when someone makes communal or racist comment at public places. They intentionally try to ignore such comments in order to avoid unnecessary troubles. (But) to encourage such mentality is a sin and it’s the duty of each and every common citizen to condemn such act.
Reading books or greeting actors by cheers and applause will not be enough! We have to say NO to racism, boldly…
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