Berry 1 Devin Berry Cultural Themes Prakasam November 15, 2010

Spinning Into Butter

The play Spinning into Butter by Rebecca Gilman is considered controversial because of the race issues that it explores. The students in the play discuss racism and how it is inappropriate. The school hosts forums to discuss race and address issues pertaining to race and racism on campus. I do not find the play to be all that controversial and I do not believe that it has shaped the way I view race in American nor has it truly impacted my thoughts about race in America. The opinions I held in regards to race are the same now as they were prior to reading this play. The character I probably identify the most with would be that of Patrick. He considers himself to be Nuyorican while everyone else simply wants to label him as Hispanic. He considers the race forums to be patronizing and is upset about the racial discord present on his campus. Everyone wants to label me as white. However, I do not believe that is accurate. Paper is white… I however am not white. I am not a color. I do not wish to be defined by the lack of melanin in my skin. In the same way that Patrick wished to not be classified as Hispanic I do not wish to be classified as White. He finally

Berry 2 settles for Puerto Rican, “PATRICK: You can put Puerto Rican.” (Gilman 8) and I would settle for Caucasian, but just as Puerto Rican is often not an option, neither is Caucasian. Race issues has surrounded me for most of my life which is primarily why I do not believe that this play has in anyway impacted my views on race in America. The animated television show, South Park, has a character whose name is Token. His name is Token because he is the only African-American in South Park, making him the token black kid. For most of my life I have been the token white kid. Halfway through high school I was forced to switch schools and one my first day of school I thought to myself “What’s with all the white people.” Due to the environment I surrounded myself with, I forgot that I was not African-American. For most of my education I have been one of very few Caucasian students in the schools I have attended. I grew up in a town that has large African-American and Latino populations. As a child race is not an issue unless it is pointed out. As a child, I often forgot that I was the Caucasian kid. I have grown up in environments where race can freely be discussed because it is not an issue; it is a slight difference in the melanin levels in our skin. In the play, Ross says to Sarah, "Most people are just racists. They don’t know they’re racists." I think that this is a true statement. I know many people that based on the statements they make and the opinions they hold they would be considered racist but they do not see themselves as such. This has become a fact of society, but this play did not make me realize this. My interactions with our species revealed this fact to me. Racists exist. People are classified by the amount of melanin in their skin. These are two unfortunate facts of life. I think that people should be able to freely discuss race

Berry 3 without feelings being hurt, but I do not believe that this will happen on a large scale anytime soon. Many consider Spinning Into Butter to be a controversial play that changes the way you think about race. While I agree that the topics were controversial for it’s time (while it was only eleven years ago, I believe that is has only been very recent that people have become comfortable discussing racial issues), it has not changed the way that I view race in America.

Berry 4 Works Cited Gilman, Rebecca. Spinning Into Butter. New York: The Dramatic Publishing Company, 1999. Print.

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