American Theatre Critics Association Keynote Speech

diep-tran_ATCAIn April, I was billed as the keynote speaker for the American Theatre Critics Association, the only national association of professional theatre critics. In it, I talked about microaggression in theatre reviews and how to diversify the criticism field. I don’t usually enjoy public speaking but the speech itself, and the responses to it, were better than I anticipated. The full text of the speech is here.

“After all, why must a non-white character have a reason for why they’re not white? And why must the inclusion of a non-white cast include, in the reviews, racialized language such as telenovela and jasmine rice? Why are white characters given unconditional empathy while characters of color have to prove themselves and earn it? I’m not saying critics aren’t allowed to dislike works by Latino writers, or any writer of color. But perhaps when you’re writing about why you didn’t like it, don’t say it was because there wasn’t enough ethnic “spice” or “flavor” in it. It makes you sound racist.”

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