Today, at 6:32 pm the Kenyon community received a forwarded email from Adelante, the Latinx Student Association. The message contains a statement from Professor Clara Román-Odio regarding the upcoming Kenyon College Dance and Dramatic Club’s production of “The Good Samaritan,” an original play by Professor Wendy MacLeod. Her message was initially denied by the student-info filter. The Thrill’s intention in publishing Professor Román-Odio’s statement is to further circulate her message with our audience, which includes current students, recent alumni, and community members. We encourage students to attend the event, “The Good Samaritan: A Conversation,” happening on Thursday during Common Hour (11:10-12:00) in the Hill Theater. Students are asked to read the full script, which was released to the Kenyon community via Student-Info earlier this week, prior to the event in order to fully participate in the conversation. Following Professor Román-Odio’s message are Adelante’s suggested tools of engagement.
EDIT: In an earlier version of this post, “The Good Samaritan: A Conversation” was mislabeled as a Talk Back, conflating two separate and unrelated events. Thursday’s Common Hour event is strictly concerned with Professor MacLeod’s play and is affiliated with the Drama, Dance, and Film Department, not KCDC.
Dear Latinx Students,
As you know, our Assistant Director of ODEI, Jacky Neri, is actively working to help our Latinx community at Kenyon come upon an appropriate response to Prof. Wendy McLeod’s most lamentable expression of ethnic insensitivity and evident ignorance of the contributions and value of Latinos to our nation; lasting impacts that range from the towering civil rights achievements of César Chávez to a voice for social justice, equality, and diversity in our nation’s highest court. I absolutely applaud Jacky’s efforts and feel proud that she is raising her informed voice to channel the concerns and well-justified reactions of our Latinx students at Kenyon.
I applaud as well and am proud of the response by our student Latinx community, by ADELANTE, and most especially by the clarity and forcefulness of Sebastian’s response. History teaches us, time and again, that it is only through the voice and the affirmation of the value of diversity that the diverse will be affirmed and valued within the mainstream of the nation.
Lest we ascribe to this play greater value and importance than the low measure it truly merits, let us remember that our Latin American Nobel Laureates speak about the realities of our peoples with genius, authority, and scholarship. In this play there is certainly no genius, and even less authority or scholarship. The play attempts to be comical, at best, at the expense of trivializing the immense suffering that thousands of innocent victims of violence suffer at the hands of state and non-state actors. Let us not visit now the historical forces and powers that have promoted and cuddled this violence. Thus, see this play for what it is and do not allow it, in any way, to undermine your dignity, self-respect, and pride of origin and, please, do not invest your talents and valuable time in the demeaning request of helping “to get it right.”
To close, I do, myself, and exhort each and every one of you to do likewise, request from our institutional leadership a response that lives up to the principles embodied in our Liberal Arts creed.
Never lose your voice; never lose your identity. I am so very proud of all of you.
Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature
Faculty Associate Director of Community-Engaged Learning and Research
APPROPRIATE TOOLS OF ENGAGEMENT
1) Attend an Adelante meeting. We welcome everybody from all backgrounds. We meet in Bemis Music Room every Friday at 5:15pm. We are going to have a specific meeting about this topic this coming Friday!
2) Talk to the ODEI office for more information about the importance of diversity issues on our campus and to learn more about what they are doing to respond to this situation in an appropriate manner.
3) Talk to a Diversity Advisor who is willing to talk to you about how these kind of narratives hurt the Latinx community/communities of color/marginalized communities rather than help.
4) You can also talk to a Latinx person (including a faculty member!) who is willing to talk to you about the issues affecting the Latinx community on campus. Most of Adelante’s exec board would be willing to meet with you to personally talk about this! Just email the Adelante email! firstname.lastname@example.org