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Ex Fabula: Race in the Workplace

Art Montes
Rossetta Hall shares a story.

We’re nearing the end of the first Ex Fabula Fellowship, which leverages personal stories in order to explore the important topics of privilege and oppression. The Fellows are a diverse cohort of community members who worked with Ex Fabula artists in the Fall of 2015 to develop their storytelling skills. Over the past months, the Fellows have been sharing at interactive outreach performances that combine stories with small group discussion, and we’ve been collecting those stories to share with you! Special thanks to the Wisconsin Humanities Council and the Wisconsin Arts Board for supporting this project.

Credit Art Montes
Jennifer Hoepner

Here are two stories that explore the role that race plays in the workplace – both originally told in November 2015 at “Whiteness and Privilege,” an event in partnership with the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion.

First, Jennifer Hoepner talks about a boss who asked her to fire someone. Originally Jennifer thought the story was about her standing up to her boss, but as she told it during the Fellowship, she started to reflect on the reasons that she had been hired. As she explains, beneath the surface the situation was much more complicated than she originally thought.

In the second story, Rossetta Hall shares a very different interaction with her boss; having been promoted multiple times and shown herself to be a wonderful employee, Rossetta was excited to go back to school in order to further her career – but her boss did not share her excitement. Thanks to Rossetta’s tenacity, the story has a happy ending – but sadly, that’s not the case for everyone who’s ever been caught in her position.

In the next weeks, we’ll continue to explore the full breadth of human experience on our stages: parenting and anti-violence on Tuesday April 5th with the Milwaukee Rep; race in the design industry on Wednesday April 6th as part of Greater Together’s “Designing Change” series, and then “Forgotten” at a regular season Slam on Wednesday April 13. We also have the last public workshop of the season on Saturday April 9th. More details are available at

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