Whites Only in Color
White Men’s Toilet Room,in an old factory building
It’s that time of year when the USA focuses on particular aspects of its history, reflects upon and recognizes the pain of racism, and honors its African heritage. The burden of having to live and be treated according to social stigma is still with us, but the past decays, and turns, and brings us to recognize that some experiences touch us all; experiences of race, of being a minority, of being marginalized, of being burdened by xenophobia and cultural myopia, these touch us all. I deeply appreciate the efforts of artists such as Sanford Biggers (who has an exhibition at Sewanee right now) towards this process of reconnection and reclamation. This is Black History Month. It is a sombre celebration. This is also a time to churn over our capacity for being humane and living in empathy, for bringing color and nuance into the searing white of separation and segregation. It is a celebration of hope. I’d like to think there is a new kind of ‘post-racialism’ afoot: a culture that articulates and overcomes how we, regardless of race or sex, are constantly making or being made into victims. Knowing makes victors out of victims.
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