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Neil Armstrong: First White Dude on the Moon!

Leslie Brown

Have we come to this as a nation? Do we feel compelled to pore back over history and re-qualify noteworthy events as to the color of the hero or heroine that performed them?

New York’s Broadway recently cast the first black, baritone Norm Lewis in the role of the phantom in the long-running musical “Phantom of the Opera“. An excerpts follows from the April 30th “Gray Lady” or New York Times (also known as bird-cage liner).

This isn’t just a personal milestone for the actor, though. Mr. Lewis will be the first African-American to play the Phantom on Broadway, and only the second ever (the television actor Robert Guillaume played the role briefly in 1990 in the Los Angeles production). Including Michael Crawford, who headlined the show’s opening at the Majestic Theater in 1988, 16 actors have tackled the role on Broadway; the fourth Phantom, Kevin Gray, happened to be half-Chinese, but otherwise the famous white mask has rested exclusively on white faces.

Um, guess what? Nobody cares unless you happen to be Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. I cannot help but think about how very sad Martin Luther King Jr. would be to witness the “Trayvon-ing” of America. Militarily, it’s the oldest trick in the book….create a diversion. Whenever a conservative gets dangerously close to exposing truth, the “red herring” of racism gets thrown out there, “Hey look!”

In the musical “Phantom of the Opera” the masked phantom, Erik becomes unmasked and is seen for what he is.  I find it ironic that the New York Times feels compelled to put a “mask” of their own back on him.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Martin Luther King Jr. August 28th 1963

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