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Author: Art Heitzer

The concept of Whiteness: Understanding the role and shared responsibilities of fighting racism

Many commentaries have compared this summer’s upsurge of anti-racist demonstrations after the killing of George Floyd to the nationwide outbreaks after the assassination of Martin Luther King on April 4, 1968. Mainstream media then reported “riots” across the nation in mostly Black communities. But there was also an upsurge of concern and action in some predominantly White communities. I know. I was there. Marquette University had claimed to be the largest Catholic University in the world, and was one of the most conservative. It then had maybe 75 black students, predominantly athletes, and no African-American professors. In 1967-68, a...

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“Black Pearl Sings!” is a tearful performance of our mutual oppression

As with many of the musical performances featured in the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Stackner Cabaret, I expected “Black Pearl Sings” to be primarily a platform to showcase musical numbers, in this case songs from the long tradition of African-American enslavement and Jim Crow. It fulfills that mission, but also a lot more. Tears will flow. Not just on the stage, but also maybe down your own cheeks. The Rep intimately staged this historically re-cast story of Pearl Johnson as a moving presentation of southern Black music from past decades. Set during the New Deal era, the story involves the...

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An Ode to Cynicism: The Rep’s Animal Farm in the Age of Trump

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” – Animal Farm’s surviving credo Animal Farm is among the most famous political novels of all time and it remains a timeless and devastating allegory of idealism betrayed by the desire for personal power. When the animals of Manor Farm drive out their abusive farmer, they take over running the farm for themselves. Their experiment in collective leadership succeeds – until the pigs step into the vacuum of power created by the farmer’s expulsion, and betray the ideals of freedom and equality for all animals. “The most...

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Professor Nan Kim helps Milwaukee understand the ongoing Korean crisis

When the President of United States stood before the United Nations General Assembly and threatened to “totally destroy” a nation of 25 million people, American scholars, supporters of peaceful alternatives, and the local Korean community sought to offer the Milwaukee public a rational understanding about the situation in North Korea. On September 9, UWM History Professor Nan Kim and Rev. PyungAhn “Peace” Kim, Associate Pastor of Whitefish Bay United Methodist Church (UMC) spoke on “How Can We Understand the Current Crisis in Korea?” to an overflow crowd. Sponsored by the local United Nations Association (UNA) chapter, The speakers covered...

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