Performance reveals hidden bias

Danielle Kronau, Assistant Arts & Rec Editor

The campus played jury during The Defamation Experience Tuesday, August 27 in a case of theft and bias at the Young Auditorium.

The court case was about an African American woman, plaintiff Regina Wade, who was accused of stealing wealthy Caucasian Arthur Golden’s watch. Golden, the defendant, discontinued conducting business with Wade, resulting in her filing of a defamation lawsuit. To win her case, Wade had to prove he made a false statement about her to a third party, which damaged her financially. The performance was to teach the audience about bias among individuals and how to recognize that within ourselves.

“I enjoyed it. It came at a really important time in life to recognize yourself and future-wise as well,” said resident assistant Cassondra Pockat, a junior majoring in Criminology and minoring in Philosophy. “If given the option to come see it, it never would’ve caught my eye. RAs moved around the schedule, for the event, to make sure all RAs were able to visualize answers to questions they come across.”

Defamation is the act of someone’s good reputation being ruined. The plaintiff, being Wade, was the person who brought the case against the other person in a court of law. Golden was the defendant, which is the person, company or institution that was accused or sued. “Everybody has a story and it’s very difficult to walk in other people’s shoes. But I think having said that, I think we are in positions where it’s important to close the gap of conversation and to open up the dialogue so we can build a community that supports community, but more importantly supports the students on this campus, so they are ready for global experiences,” Dr. Janelle Crowley, chief human resources officer said.

There was no leaving the show early because in the end, individuals had to choose which side they believed was right and why. A discussion followed after the event where the audience was encouraged to comment and talk about issues that related to topics such as prejudice, bias and false assumptions. Managing Producer Kimm Beavers, who also played defense attorney Ms. Allen, does everything to make sure the performance is good and ready to go.

“A couple of things: I want people to get comfortable with having an uncomfortable conversation because it’s necessary in order to grow, in order to create empathy and understanding with people that are different from us. I want people to get comfortable with self-examination because brutal honesty with self-examination is very hard for us to do. It’s easy for us to ignore some of our own challenges, but to actually recognize them and do something about it, if it’s necessary, takes real growth. I’d like for us to have an opportunity to experience that and recognize what our biases are, and how our biases and assumptions and perceptions of things affect how we respond to people that are different from us,” Beavers said.

The Defamation Experience was altogether informative, clever and important. Defamation is not only acting to ruin someone’s good reputation, but it is to embrace the things that may destroy us.

To learn more visit The Defamation Experience play visit