I will keep this brief, as I don’t believe my voice should be one elevated on this subject. However, it is important to say something. There are strength in numbers in every movement, and this one is no exception. I want to make one thing perfectly clear: Black lives matter.
I deeply apologize for any and all of my past ignorance and lack of action. I could have done better before this point, and I should have. I should have been fully committed to hearing Black voices, and doing my part in fully supporting the Black Lives Matter cause long before now, but moving forward I am committed. No more being wishy-washy and lukewarm. It is of my top priority to not only be non-racist, but anti-racist, and I take that stance very seriously. I won’t be perfect, and I will continue to make mistakes, but I will learn from those mistakes and continue to move forward to be the best ally I can possibly be.
I am outraged. I am angry. I am disgusted by a system that claims to keep its citizens safe when people are targeted for nothing but their race every single day. White people need to do the work to deconstruct the systemic racism that we’ve always internalized and accepted as “normal”. This “normal” to us in unacceptable. It may not have been my intentional choice to perpetuate racism, but it is my responsibility to take part in breaking down those structures and ideologies while creating a new way of thinking, behaving, and acting.
Call a spade a spade. This is a common phrase that simply rolls off the tongue. In art, we do this all the time. We call out what needs to be called out, and we don’t sugarcoat it. However, it’s important that we don’t treat the Black Lives Matter movement as a trend or fad. I know that we often have the best of intentions when sharing our views in support of BLM with the world, with art or otherwise, but it’s critical that we continue to stand behind the movement even after it ceases to be “trendy”. Especially then. We can’t call it then drop it. A spade is still a spade. Black lives matter. They matter now. And they will continue to matter. So let’s continue to do the work.
I am in the process of further educating myself on the deep roots of racism and what I need to do to counteract it, but in Word Oasis spirit, here are some Black creators from many creative mediums whose perspectives I’ve found integral to developing my understanding:
As Told By Kenya: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfdQZXHsR1L2g4jDrMmVMTw
bell hooks: Bone Black (memoir)
James McBride: The Color of Water (memoir)
Mickie Guyton: “Black Like Me” (single)
Please comment with the Black voices who are resonating with you as we move forward in educating ourselves and supporting Black perspectives especially in art, as many of us creatives best learn.
That’s the thing about education though: it doesn’t all come from school or a formal learning environment. Not even close. In fact, if you stop your learning when you stop going to school, then you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Education goes far beyond the classroom; we must seek it for ourselves, and shape our worldviews based on a variety of authentic perspectives. In regard to the Black Lives Matter movement, in particular, do not allow yourself to be immersed in white manipulations of Black voices. Seek Black voices. Hear Black voices. Listen to Black voices. And then take action based on your ever-growing basis of knowledge about the atrocity that is racism.
Art mirrors the world in a lot of ways. One is that with more diversity overall, the community becomes more beautiful. Art creates perspectives and worldviews and thought processes; don’t let yours be limited to only being shaped by people who look like you. We must continue educating ourselves, and in the process realize that world-scale change begins when we work on ourselves as individuals and share our refreshed perspectives with others. To my fellow white folks: we all have work to do, so let’s get to it.
Much Love, Quinn
Crazy cat lady. Exploratory writer. Much love.