Cast members for Park Square Theatre’s production of A Raisin in the Sun, playing on the Andy Boss Thrust Stage from October 28 to November 20, were invited to tell about the line(s) in the play that most resonates with them, a poem or line(s) from a poem that resonates with them or a personal reflection related to the play.
Robert Gardner, who plays Karl Lindner, a representative from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, gave the following response:
I’m the only white guy in A Raisin in the Sun, playing the only white character, Karl Lindner. The role is small but crucial as he presents the Younger family (and particularly Walter) with their dilemma at the end of the play: accept money for staying in their old home in a black neighborhood or take the risks of moving into a white neighborhood.
Lindner’s key line for me, as he makes his offer to buy the Youngers out of their new house, is: “I want you to believe me when I tell you that race prejudice simply doesn’t enter into it.”
Well, of course it does enter into it, as is perfectly clear to the Youngers and, I’m sure, to the audience. But I believe Lindner himself believes that he is being honest when he says this. I also believe that his unacknowledged racism is something we all have to contend with. And there’s a seductive plausibility to his argument that “people get along better, have more of a common understanding of the life of the community, when they share a common background.” While this may be true (and it has been the guiding principle of many communities, not just white ones), when it is adopted as a principle of exclusion, it is a formula for stagnation that denies communities the ability to grow and improve.