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MC’s racial division noticed through “Hairspray”

March 22, 2013

Allyson Frazier / The Courier - The recent production of "Harispray" called into question the subject of self-segregation on campus.


With the recent production of “Hairspray,” a lesson on de-segregation, Monmouth College has taken an inward look at the racial divides on campus.

Prior to casting for “Hairspray,” which started in early December, the challenge of finding African American actors was not fully realized. Once the production of “Hairspray” happened during early March, the lack of African American male actors was noticed. The lead African American role of Seaweed was given to a Knox College student because of this.

When casting for “Hairspray,” the campus was given the stark realization that maybe there was a bigger problem of separation than what was once thought.

Many students believe this is due to a of lack of intermingling among races. However, according to Olivia Overall, an African American actress from the cast of “Hairspray,” this was not the case.

“It wasn’t about race why people didn’t want to act in ‘Hairspray,’” said Overall. “It was more people didn’t like [acting in a] musical and on a stage.”

Overall did, however, acknowledge a divide between the racial groups on campus.

“Birds of a feather flock together,” she said. “People get stuck on what they know and [are] afraid to venture out.”

Though the divide did not seem to be the reason for Hairspray’s casting difficulties according to some cast members, there was still the thought of campus divide being a current issue.

“I definitely notice a divide between the races on campus,” said sophomore Nicole Kamzic, a Caucasian student. “Although I have a diverse group of friends, many don’t.”

The campus is becoming more diverse with a rising minority population. New groups, such as Umoja and Raices, are aiming to facilitate and unite minority and non-minority students on campus. These groups are making strives to understand and be understood by the majority of campus. Vice President of Umoja junior Arica Brazil recognizes there is a divide on campus and on behalf of Umoja released the following statement:
“We wish more people would be open to the idea of integrating with the African-American students, amongst the other minorities, on MC’s campus because we truly want to feel like a part of MC.”

Overall and Kamzic think that the integration of races could be improved if people were more open to stepping out of their comfort zone.

“Surround yourself with venturing students,” Overall said, “venturing students being students who are willing to leave their comfort zones and who are open to unique and new experiences.”

Porscha McCloud
Contributing Writer

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