Can a school drama production of Mulan using Yellowface be considered racist?
A friend of a friend recently informed me about a Mulan show performed at the 'fee paying' independent school - Hemdean House School Caversham, near Reading. The photographs show classic female racial drag and yellowface caricaturing, the pose, hands palmed together, bowing, dark eye make up accentuating the sides and edges to create slanted or slitty eyes, Japanese kimono's, cheongsam's, white pale face with red lips like a Japanese geisha, hence orientalist.
On the website of Hemdean House School, the Race Equality Policy references the Macpherson Report - the school aims to counter institutional racism...defined as
”unwitting prejudiced, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racial stereotyping.”
However, from the photographs of the school's Mulan production, Chinese people are represented by "Yellowface" caricaturing, isn't this an exact example of unwitting prejudiced, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racial stereotyping?
Can 'oriental' shows such as Mulan ever be performed by non-Chinese without falling foul of accusations of racism? Should these shows be performed at all by non-Chinese?
Note: A complaint was lodged at the school. They refused to comment.