Prof Canned for Showing ‘Othello’

Othello by William Shakespeare - Free at Loyal Books

A University of Michigan professor is on his way out the window because he showed his class a 1965 film, Othello, by Shakespeare, starring Lawrence Olivier… in blackface (

By doing this, the prof violated stupid students’ “safe space.” Sheesh. Didn’t he know that only Democrat politicians are allowed to cavort around in blackface? Ask the governor of Virginia and his minstrel show cronies.

I mean, like, the whole point of the play is that Othello is a black man in a white men’s world, and very, very sensitive about it, etc. So white actors have traditionally played Othello in blackface.

But not to worry! I have found a simple dramatic production fully compatible with the intellects of University of Michigan students. And here it is.

6 comments on “Prof Canned for Showing ‘Othello’

  1. The virtue signaling knows no limits. It sounds to me, like Shakespeare wrote a play that was sensitive to the issue, but the narrow minds and limited imaginations of current college students are not likely to think so deeply.

  2. At the time the movie appeared, my friends and I were all liberal-to-left and most of us had been active in the civil rights movement of the early 1960s — and to tell the truth, we found Olivier’s performance embarrassing. He played Othello like a caricature of a Deep South black, instead of like the high-born, successful general that Shakespeare created. True, in the play Othello does evince insecurity about his “otherness” in Venetian society — don’t let me get started, please, about why he’s insecure only in his private life — but he’s definitely not the kind of American stereotype that Olivier created. The problem with Olivier’s performance wasn’t the blackface — white actors have always used blackface to avoid confusing the audience — it was his mannerisms. Rolling his eyes, lolling his tongue, beginning to shuffle like Steppin Fetchit … ugh. As I said, it was downright embarrassing. I could hardly bear to keep watching it.

    Some of my friends began referring to his portrayal as “Old Black O.” But again, the thing was that we laughed about it, ridiculing Olivier for a terrible interpretation. No one, not even blacks at the time, were enraged (except maybe with Olivier’s bad acting). And we certainly weren’t enraged with the theater management for showing it.

    Later on, I even used to discuss the film in my classes on “Othello” the same way I discussed what I thought other wrongheaded directorial decisions in all Shakespeare’s plays. And for that matter, the black students in my classes always laughed when I told them about the “Old Black O” line that my friends had used about Olivier’s performance.

    I think we were better off when we were able to laugh at such foolishness. And please pardon my rant. You may laugh at me if you wish. 🙂

    1. Sadly, there has been racial hatred in the past, and some exists to this day. It’s a serious subject, but I’ve noticed that some people have lost the ability to rise above the situation. A sense of humor can be a very useful tool.

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