If this was a minority group mocking some white male American they’d just call it “Cultural Differences” and let it go.
Feast of Lanterns Board President Dixie Layne says she doesn’t know of any response, but declines further comment. Two other board members did not respond to requests for comment.
The board’s apparent unwillingness to discuss the issue perplexes P.G. Councilwoman Lisa Bennett, who notes that the festival organization is unaffiliated with the city.
“The Feast of Lanterns is one of our traditional events, and at the same time, it depicts characters who are ethnic minorities” she says. “It would be a very good thing if the Feast of Lanterns committee were open to talking to people of Chinese ancestry about it.”
Although Bennett says the play isn’t intended as discriminatory, she adds, “I don’t think it’s right nowadays to uphold a tradition that is offensive to an ethnic group. We’ve been told that it is. Now what are we going to do about it?
P.G. resident Sue Parris, chapter director of the National Coalition Building Institute, feels that the play blights an otherwise charming festival. “We do this scene of fake Chinese-ness, and there aren’t any Chinese people involved or even consulted,” she says. “That part seems so unnecessary and kind of backwards. It’s not taking into account the effects on the people who are being portrayed.”
Local historians give the play mixed reviews. Monterey Peninsula College art history teacher Kent Seavey, a P.G. resident, calls it a “nice romantic story” that has nothing to do with the historically important Chinese residents of Point Alones.