Apologize for the Racially Stereotyping Production of The Mikado in Providence

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Apologize for the Racially Stereotyping Production of The Mikado in Providence

This petition had 585 supporters
sakiko mori started this petition to Opera Providence and

We are asking the Opera Providence acknowledge the racially stereotyping in their production of "The Mikado" and apologize to community members, particularly those of Asian heritage.

We also petition Opera Providence to cancel their final performance of "The Mikado", which is scheduled on Wednesday, August 13th, 2014. (***Now the performnace is over ***)

Finally, we ask Opera Providence to express their apology for insulting the protesters against their performance of "The Mikado". We (protesters) stood outside Columbus Theatre before the performance started on August 9th & 10th, to express our thoughts in person by holding our signs, without confronting or insulting any individual members of the audience or production team.

We later heard from members of the audience that one of the actors (who played one of the main characters) added the line "killing the protesters outside" to a song during the performance on Sunday, and that the president of Opera Providence insulted the protesters in front of the audience before the performance. 

Opera Providence's decision to stage this show and their reaction to opposition from the community has been unprofessional and insulting.

The two central problems are these:

1. "The Mikado", written in 1885 by Arthur Sullivan & W.S. Gilbert, neither of whom were of Asian background, displays ignorant and wildly inaccurate stereotypes of Japan (among other countries in Asia), and celebrates the ignorance of these cultures and people associated with them. The Asian characters are written as lacking in human dignity and intelligence.

2. Presenting "The Mikado" in Providence with non-Aian actors performing in "yellowface" as Asian characters is offensive to the whole community.  Generalization & celebrating ignorance are the complete opposite of what we believe human relationships should be, and suggests that certain racial and cultural characteristics are worthy of mockery and acceptable to mock. It is historically and culturally not appropriate.  It is not appropriate for our community.

It is our intention and strong belief that apologizing and cancelling this show will express something extremely important: that generalization or dehumanization of any race or culture, and the use of ignorant stereotypes as entertainment, are among the fundamental seeds of racism.

Providence should be inclusive and welcoming for people of all races, cultures, and experiences.

If you agree, we ask you to please sign and share this petition with your friends and family.

***As of August 18th, Opera Providence's performance of Mikado is over but this petition is still going, to get an  acknowledgement and apology from Opera Providence, also to get more people's attention to this issue.

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