An American academic claimed that William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” is racist due to its “racialized” references to “darkness,” the UK Daily Mail reported.
While participating in a recent installment of the Globe Theatre’s “Anti-Racist Shakespeare” webinars in London, English professor Kathryn Vomero Santos of Trinity University in Texas said the language in “Macbeth” is a demonstration of the racial bias of William Shakespeare.
She claimed that Shakespeare’s use of words like beetle, bat, black, and night are examples of the “racialized” language of the play about the corrupting nature of power.
Citing the scene in which Macbeth is referred to as “black Macbeth,” Vomero Santos said it is important for teachers to help students recognize how some plays that may not on the surface seem like a “race play” still rely on “racialized language” and play on “the dichotomy of whiteness and blackness and dark and light.”
Vomero Santos’ outlandish claims were echoed by playwright Migdalia Cruz, who argued that Shakespeare’s use of words like Moor, Jew, and Turk are also proof that William Shakespeare was a racist. She also asserted that everyone in Shakespeare’s time was a racist.
Both Kathryn Vomero Santos and Migdalia Cruz have a history of attempting to “reenvision” Shakespeare’s plays to make them less “racist.”
In 2018, Cruz published a “translation” of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” as part of a series by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival aimed at presenting Shakespeare’s plays in language that is “accessible to modern audiences.”
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival said the series used “diverse” contemporary playwrights and “dramaturges from diverse backgrounds” to reimagine Shakespeare “for the twenty-first century.”
Kathryn Vomero Santos, meanwhile, helped to curate a collection of Shakespeare plays retold by Latino and “indigenous” writers who set the plays in “settings more familiar” to people living along the US/Mexico border.