The events surrounding Wendy MacLeod’s The Good Samaritan have been painful. There is no more poignant statement than the one from a student currently protected by the DACA program who wrote: “It hurts when I wonder if that is what the people here think about me.” Sadly, that is the point of MacLeod’s play. Whatever the legitimate criticisms of its portrayal of an undocumented minor, its clear intention was to highlight the unfortunate reality that there are far too many people at Kenyon who pay lip service to supporting Dreamers but do nothing to actually support them. Despite the supposed “Kenyon bubble,” anti-immigrant bias, along with Islamophobia, racism and homophobia, have a long history here. MacLeod’s critics convinced her to cancel her play, which they argued contributed to the systematic oppression of the Latinx community. Perhaps now those same critics can turn their attention to more difficult tasks. Perhaps they will begin to take on departments that privilege a Eurocentric curriculum and seem unable to hire anyone but white people, introductory courses that contain virtually no writings by people of color, attempts to silence the voices of pro-Palestinian students and “academic conferences” that provide platforms for anti-BLM and other right wing speakers in the name of free speech. These are only a few examples. These are, of course, more difficult targets than the flawed work of a female playwright who is actually a critic of white privilege and the oppression of the undocumented. Perhaps that explains the relative silence.
Vernon James Schubel
Professor of Religious Studies