1 Music, Ink.: White Privilege Reader's Theater


Monday, November 9, 2015

White Privilege Reader's Theater


A, the homeowner, stands in the middle of a room, ankle deep in water. B, the handyman, stands on a raised platform with wheels, carrying a toolbox.

A: Thank you for coming on such short notice.
B: No problem. Ivory Roofers is here to help. Now what seems to be the problem?
A: Well, as you can see, my house is flooded due to a leak in the ceiling. Not surprising, considering how bad the weather has been these days.
B: Whoa, whoa, slow down there.
A: Sorry?
B: I just don't want you to jump to any conclusions.
A: I'm afraid I don't know what you mean.
B: Well, we don't know if there's really a leak in the ceiling.
A: How can you say that?
B: Don't antagonize me, I'm just playing devil's advocate. All I'm saying is that from where we're standing, it's impossible to tell if there's really a leak in the ceiling.
A: My house is flooded. That's a pretty good indicator that the ceiling has been leaking.
B: Flooding is kind of a strong word. There's not really that much, is there?
A: Do you not see the water on the floor?!
B: Try not to get too emotional, it's only water.
A: Surely you wouldn't want to live in a house where you're constantly ankle deep in water. It's damaging everything I own and generally ruining my quality of life.
B: At least you have a home.
A: Excuse me?
B: A lot of people don't even have homes to flood.
A: I mean, sure, but that's hardly the point right now. The point is that my home is flooded, and I called you to fix it.
B: Why do I have to fix it?
A: Well, for one thing, you're a roofer. That's literally your job. And second of all, because your company put the roof up in the first place, so you're really in the best position to fix it.
B: It's not my house. It's your house. Shouldn't you fix it?
A: I'm not a roofer! You are a roofer! Why won't you just fix the leak?
B: Couldn't you just learn to live with it?
A: I've been living with it for some time now, but I'm tired of just "living with it." That's why I called you. The weather has been bad, and--
B: Whoa, whoa, don't blame the weather for your problems.
A: How can I not blame the weather? The only reason there's water flooding my home is because of all the rain.
B: No, there's water in your home because you let it in your home.
A: That literally makes no sense. There is a hole in my roof--
B: Conjecture.
A: --And it's been raining, so there's now an excess of water all over my home. Please just fix it so I can move on with my life.
B: Look, it really doesn't seem that bad. Why don't you just stand on your platform?
A: Sorry, what?
B: As you can see, I've got a platform that I always stand on when things get too wet. Why don't you stand on your platform?
A: I don't have a platform.
B: I guess you could stand on mine.
A: There are no stairs. Could you help me up?
B: Wow, I offer you a spot on my platform, out of the water, and now I have to help you up, too?
A: There's really no other way for me to get up there.
B: That's not my problem.
A: Look. YOU put in the faulty roof. YOU refuse to fix the problems with it. I'M the one that's suffering because of it.
B: Technically, I didn't put that roof in. My grandfather did. When HE built this house, by the way. You really ought to be thanking me.
A: Why on earth should I thank you?!
B: Like I said. MY grandfather built this roof and put a roof over YOUR head.
A: The roof is leaking! And you refuse to fix it!
B: You can't blame me for something my grandfather did.
A: You're being ridiculous.
B: I'm not being ridiculous. You're the one complaining about everything and ignoring all your good fortune. If my grandfather hadn't built this house, you would have nowhere to live.
A: No, I'd just be living somewhere else.
B: But this house is so big and beautiful! It's got plenty of space for you to move around. And it's soundproof. You can say whatever you want as loud as you want!
A: All that would be great if it weren't flooded and all my things weren't water damaged. Why did you even come here if you weren't going to fix my roof?
B: I was trying to help you look on the bright side.
A: You're a roofer! That isn't what I hired you to do!
B: You haven't even paid me yet.
A: Because you haven't done your job!
B: I'm done being yelled at. I'm leaving.
A: Wait! You haven't fixed my roof! What am I supposed to do?
B: Solve your own problems!

B pulls out an oar from the toolbox and unfolds it to its full size.

A: Can I at least have that oar? Jesus, where the hell did you get that thing?
B: My father gave it to me so it's mine.
A: Is your house flooded?
B: No. But all the houses in this neighborhood have water in them. So I'm gonna need this to get around.
A: Are you going to fix the other houses, then?
B: Probably not. Hopefully they'll be more receptive to my help than you've been.

B uses the oar and the rolling platform to leave the house. A sighs and removes a blanket from a nearby couch, beginning - however futilely - to mop up all the water.

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