Nigger Wetback Chink (play)
Artist: Speak Theater Arts
Date of Action: September 2016
Region: North America
Location: Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University, Long Beach, California
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Performance Art, Theatre "Theatre" is not in the list (Commercial Advertising, Dance, Design, Installation, Journalism, Literature, Mixed Media, Music, Online, Painting, ...) of allowed values for the "Has medium" property.
Confronting Bodies: California State University Long Beach
Description of Artwork: 'Nigger Wetback Chink' (N*GGER WETB*CK CH*NK, or N*W*C*) is a widely acclaimed comedy that engages race relations through confrontational humor. The project has had a long history of broad support since its origin as a student production at UCLA, and has toured extensively at performing arts centers on and off college campuses for over a decade.
The Incident: The Carpenter Performing Arts Center at California State University Long Beach was forced to abandon a production of N*W*C* after the university administration called for its cancellation. University spokesperson Michael Uhlenkamp said that the decision was made based on the fact that some members of the campus community objected to the material, and that the play wasn't constructive in fostering a dialogue about racial relations.
Results of Incident: The university's decision prompted the resignation of Center's long-standing Executive Director, Michele Roberge, who referred to the cancellation as an act of censorship. On September 28 NCAC's Arts Advocacy Program sent out a joint letter to university president Jennifer Conoley denouncing their decision to nix the show. Co-written with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and co-signed by the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF), the letter expresses concern that the cancellation over objections to the play's racially focused content is at odds with First Amendment principles. It urges CSULB to allow N*W*C* to return to be performed at the Carpenter Center at some future date. The university has yet to respond (as of Nov 14, 2016)
NCAC, FIRE & DLDF Letter to Cal State University Long Beach: Re-Instate Play About Race, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016
FIRE, NCAC, and DLDF Demand Cal State Long Beach Reverse Censorship of Play, FIRE, Sept 28, 2016
Cal State Long Beach Censors Acclaimed Show, Director Resigns in Protest, SEPTEMBER 13, 2016
A Charged Title. A Canceled Show. Now a Cal State Official Resigns. NYTimes SEPT. 13, 2016
How "N*W*C" Became Drama Non Grata On A California State Campus, Arts Integrity Initiative, 9 SEPTEMBER 2016
Carpenter arts center director resigns, saying cancellation of race-themed show is censorship, LA Times, Sept 8, 2016
Long Beach St. Pulls Plug on N*GGER WETB*CK CH*NK Show. Cancellation, or Censorship?, OC Weekly, Sept 7, 2016