1. a statement acknowledging the truth of something.

  2. the process or fact of entering or being allowed to enter a place, organization, or institution.

In the spring I saw a play with our son.  It was an off-Broadway, preview play called "Admissions".  It was shown in a small theater at Lincoln Center.  I liked it.  I thought that it gave great food for thought.  Since seeing it, I have read two online reviews.  As with all ideas, there are contrary opinions.  One of the reviews thought the play was good and the other review thought that the playwright didn't do the topic justice. 


The story centers around the Mason household. In her 15 years as the head of admissions at Hillcrest, a not-quite-first-tier boarding school in New Hampshire, Sherri Rosen-Mason has increased the student body’s diversity quotient threefold: to 18 percent from 6 percent. She and her school head master husband, Bill are quite proud of their influence in changing an old-white-boy-network-prep school to reflect a more diverse society.  Three other characters weigh in on the thoughts of the schools progress: an older, "legacy" administrative assistant; a woman friend of Sherri's- the wife of English head and mother of Sherri and Bill's son's best friend, Perry;  and Charlie- Sherri and Bill's son.  All are white.  But from the first scene, questions are raised about what is equity, diversity and inclusion?  

The play takes place over a series of six months, during Charlie's senior school year.  Charlie does not get accepted to his absolute first choice of school - Yale (a childhood goal and dream)  while Charlie's best friend Perry does.  Perry's "SAT scores were not as good as mine.  He took 2, AP classes while I took 3."  Charlie questions that Perry might have gotten in because Perry has a black father and he, Charlie does not.   So begins the questions about society and race, privilege, position and using one's natural advantage to get ahead.  And, what hypocrisies do we all bring to the table? 

The one reviewer thinks that the playwright tried too hard.  That as a white writer and as white theater attendees, we might be better served not to be the ones talking about this topic. Our mere talking about it makes us seem hypocritical.   Because, as the story unfolds, the liberal parents are liberal as long as it doesn't affect their son.  When the son tries to make amends and bring the dialogue to a new level of discussion, the parents are outraged and default back to the "who do we know so that we can get our son ahead?"

Yet, through out the play, there are statements from all sides of the argument that seem plausible and understandable.  

I think the person who gives the reflective poor review has some valid points.  But I think that the play's topic is appropriate for our times.  We need a venue to talk about all sides of the diversity and privilege debate.  It is only through art that sometimes these topics can come up.  It allows a civil discourse.  

While none of the characters "admit" their biased views, I think the playwright is asking the audience to reflect and admit his/her bias.  He asks us to to recognize and admit our bias for what it is worth and then look at someone else's point of view.  Whether he is asking for a confession on the audience's part, as one reviewer has suggested, might be interpreting too much. The author might be asking for just an acknowledgment of the problem from the audience: any new journey begins with the first step.

What about you?  Have you ever wondered about what you bring to the diversity table?  Preconceived ideas? Unrecognized privilege?  Use of the network system?  Never thought about it?  Below are some links to resources that might give you some food for thought. (As one commenter to the privilege video replied, “Privilege is sitting on a MacBook and commenting on a buzzfeed video about privilege.”) There are always multiple sides to any situation but I believe it is our duty as world citizens to be open and considerate of others and their situations.


Video demonstrating privilege walk

Privilege Walk Lesson Plan

Another point of view on the privilege walk lesson plan