Caucasian-Aggressive Pandas and Other Mulatto Tales

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Artist: Duck Washington

Year: 2017

Date of Action: April-May 2017

Region: North America

Location: Burnsville, Minnesota

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Theatre

Confronting Bodies: Mayor Kautz and the City of Burnsville

Description of Artwork: The play was written, directed and performed by biracial playwright Dereck "Duck" Washington. Through wit and comedy, Washington creates a necessary dialogue about race and otherness, which offers a perspective on the experience of growing up biracial or as he calls it "mulatto."

The Incident: Ames Center insisted that the Chameleon Theatre Circle changed the title of the play, as they thought the word, "mulatto" was extremely offensive. Washington refused to change the name and the Chameleon Theatre supported him in his refusal. Chameleon posted a public statement which indicated their determination to find "a new home for their work to insure its creative integrity in the future."

Results of Incident: As a result of this dispute between the Ames Center and Chameleon, Chameleon decided to end their relationship with Ames and find a new space for performances. The National Coalition Against Censorship looked into the situation and demanded a public apology from the City for restricting the creative freedom of Duck Washington and the Chameleon Theatre Circle. The Bloomington Center for the arts, a public facility in a town five miles north of Burnsville has invited Washington to be a part of their 2018 season.


Minnesota Performing Arts Center Censors Play Over Word ‘Mulatto’ in Title; UPDATE: NCAC and DLDF Send Letter to Mayor Kautz