Rantz: Village Theatre asked job applicants to disrupt ‘toxic whiteness’ of musicals

Apr 6, 2021, 7:28 PM | Updated: Apr 7, 2021, 6:39 am
The toxic whiteness of musical theater awaits you inside this theater. (Screenshot: KIRO 7 TV)...
The toxic whiteness of musical theater awaits you inside this theater. (Screenshot: KIRO 7 TV)
(Screenshot: KIRO 7 TV)

Village Theatre asked job applicants to explain how they would “disrupt the toxic whiteness of the musical theatre genre.” They say it was asked in error. But how much of an error was this?

The inappropriate question was part of a series of political questions on Village Theatre’s application for the Youth Education Teaching Artist job. It prompted at least one prospective applicant from reconsidering their application.

After the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH asked whether or not the question was appropriate, the Village Theatre pulled it down.

But their newly-adopted commitment to social justice causes, and the way they promote it, makes this seem less unintentional than they claim. They imply they are actively looking to hire “anti-racist” activists and say they only pay minority interns because white interns come from positions of privilege. It makes sense to me why this question was asked, even if in error.

‘Disrupt the toxic whiteness’ and other inappropriate questions

Everett- and Issaquah-based Village Theatre is a nationally known producer of musical theater. But recently, staff members got woke.

The nonprofit adopted a radical activist posture to fight what they believe to be systemic racism in the world of theater. In June 2020, the group vowed to embark on an “intentional journey” to be an “anti-racist organization — one that takes action against inequity and to dismantle structural and institutional racism.”

They vowed to be open-minded. But, apparently, they’re merely looking for employees who share their political positions.

In the application for the position in its KIDSTAGE program, Village Theater asked applicants: “How do/would you disrupt the toxic whiteness of the musical theatre genre?”

The Village Theatre did not explain what this means when asked directly by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. But a review of their website offers hints.

Village Theatre complains that the “musical theatre industry is predominately led by white men” and promises to “address oppressive white cultural norms in our programs.” Those oppressive norms include “worship of the written word” (Village Theatre doesn’t teach respect for the playwright?), “objectivity” (apparently it’s white supremacy to strive for objectivity), and a “right to comfort” (an odd position from activists who claim everything is racist).

Village Theatre pulled down the question

A prospective applicant reached out to me with their concerns, saying they were “shocked to discover the radical aims of their hiring process.” Indeed, if whiteness is toxic in musical theater, wouldn’t it deter white people from applying for a job in musical theater?

After the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH raised questions about the application, citing the prospective applicant’s concern that they would be discriminated against for their politics or whiteness, the Village Theatre pulled their “toxic whiteness” query from the application.

In a statement, the Village Theatre said they were thankful to be alerted to the “unintentionally inflammatory language” in the application. They called it an “administrative oversight” on their part, though do not specifically say how the question was included or who added it. They acknowledged that it “indicated to some that perhaps KIDSTAGE would be biased in its hiring practices” when they say they are not.

“In pursuit of assessing prospective teaching artist’s cultural competencies, KIDSTAGE built an application with a prompt that used language that may have unintentionally deterred some candidates from applying,” the statement says. “We regret that this particular question on the application wasn’t fully vetted with proper administrative oversight and the application has since been amended. Additionally, Village Theatre has updated its internal review processes as it pertains to the publishing of public-facing language to avoid a situation such as this in the future.”

This may have been an oversight and I believe they didn’t intend to include the question. But I understand how it ended up in the application. Village Theatre doesn’t seem especially welcoming to anyone who doesn’t share their far-left political beliefs.

You must be “anti-racist” to work for Village Theatre

You must do more than fight against toxic whiteness of musical theater — whatever that means — to work at Village Theatre. Apparently, you have to also be an “anti-racist” activist.

The application asks potential employees, “What does anti-racism look like in your classroom?”

If this seems like a benign question, you’d be mistaken. This isn’t demanding your classroom be free of racism; this demands you actively pursue political positions forwarded by progressives to fight racism as they see it. Indeed, it doesn’t merely believe that Black lives matter (as most people do), but the theater endorses the political movement Black Lives Matter.

Reading through their website’s racial equity plan, it seems they are consciously hiring people on the basis of race, not necessarily skill. They promise to “dig much deeper to identify the culture and systems that perpetuate homogeneity, be honest about which perceived barriers to hiring POC are real vs. excuses, and adopt specific practices to increase representation in all areas of the organization.”

Village Theatre even appears to pay interns on the basis of race. They claim that “by nature” the unpaid internships they offer “give a leg up to predominately-white middle/high-income students who are able to afford a summer with no income.” In Snohomish County, apparently all white kids come from middle/high-income families and all kids of color are low-income.

Consequently, they offer “full-time paid internships to Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color (BISOC) to start to tackle this inequity.”

Inconsistently woke

For a nonprofit working so hard to signal their woke bona fides, Village Theatre is remarkably inconsistent.

They say they will fight hard to ensure racial equity, which includes better representation of people of color. Yet their application asks job seekers, “What is your pay rate history with youth education organizations like KIDSTAGE?”

Critics of the question argue is perpetuates racism. More problematic for Village Theatre, asking the question on the application appears to be illegal.

The bill specifically says an employer may not “Seek the wage or salary history of an applicant for employment from the applicant or a current or former employer.” The applicant may, however, provide it voluntarily.

Washington State banned the practice of asking about pay history because, Democrats argued, it “contributed to persistent earning inequalities.”


Though Village Theatre pulled the question about toxic whiteness from their application, the question on anti-racism remains.

Given it’s impossible to separate out the left-wing political ideology behind the activist term, this comes off as telegraphing that they don’t want conservatives to apply. Or even white people.

If Village Theatre wants to hire like-minded employees, which is what seems to be the intent, so be it. Why take down the toxic whiteness question at all?

While I think it’s counterproductive to claim you support diversity while pushing away — intentionally or not — conservatives, that’s their decision to make. I suppose I’d rather know a company wouldn’t respect me before taking on a job and I can think of no better way to let applicants know how little respect you have for their conservative positions than to put out an application like this.

Did you like this opinion piece? Then listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz  on  Twitter,  Instagram, and Parler and like me on Facebook

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Photo taken from surveillance footage shared with the Jason Rantz Show through a friend of the term...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Grocer says he was fired after defending himself against homeless assault

A 23-year-old grocer was fired after defending himself against a homeless man who attacked him.
1 day ago
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle judge releases homeless, prolific shoplifter caught stealing 70-inch TV

A homeless man is charged with burglary for stealing a TV from the Seattle Target. Staff says it was the 22nd time he stole from the store in three months.
2 days ago
downtown Seattle Target...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Downtown Seattle Target barely surviving as shoplifting ravages store

The Target department store in downtown Seattle is being absolutely ravaged by shoplifters. I saw two incidents in 12 minutes.
4 days ago
hostages, Target...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle man live-tweeted ‘hostage taking.’ He keeps getting out of jail

A man who says he suffers from mental illness attempted to take hostages at a Seattle Target. He's pulled this dangerous stunt before.
5 days ago
Seattle police, COVID...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Concern as 20 percent of fully vaccinated Seattle police hit with COVID this month

A fully vaccinated Seattle Police Department suffered nearly 20% of its staff contracting COVID in just the first 21 days of January.
5 days ago
King County jail, staffing...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: King County fired the unvaccinated, now pays $103 an hour to fix staffing crisis

The staffing situation at King County jails is so dire that some correction officers are now being paid over $100 an hour for overtime.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Rantz: Village Theatre asked job applicants to disrupt ‘toxic whiteness’ of musicals