WhiteNOISE artblog

Art, Social Action, Racism, White Privilege

Month: July, 2016

Make America Great Again is Code for—What?

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CALC/SURJ Sponsored Rally, Eugene, OR. July 21, 2016

The bleak picture of America described in Donald J. Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last night had its moments of truth—truth perverted and subverted in order to mirror the fear and bigotry of the convention cohort and a growing number of white folk who long for the “good old days” when African Americans knew “their place,” gays stayed in the closet and immigration inclusion meant there was a new burrito on the Taco Time menu.  “Make America Great Again” is code for “white, male-dominant and straight.” A 1950’s redux, perhaps?

Violence is on the uptick, but not against white folk and police (the Dallas and Baton Rouge police killings are a recent and dramatic exception). However, the horrific incidents of reported and recorded institutional killings and police violence against African Americans is up and out of control.  Trump misled and misspoke in presenting his statistics. Is anyone surprised by his lack of facts and reliance on hyperbole? The twin pillars of a fascist wannabe—great.

Those Americans who have traditionally received white-skin privilege feel under siege and threatened and, in many cases, they are correct. The good life is no longer a given for white blue collar, any-color-collar, folks. However, put on your thinking caps for once and put the white, pointy clan caps in the trash. Yes, globalization is both a threat and a reality for many, however, don’t blame Americans of color, women, LBGTQ and immigrant folks for your troubles. An equal playing field for all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and family nationality is not the threat to our democracy and your well-being.

Please—blame the right folks, for once. Focus on the multinational corporations,  those who want to privatize everything in sight, those who want to live in an evangelical theocracy and those who want a law-and-order style police state where the white man’s rules, rule  and “Father Knows Best” reruns are mandatory viewing. In 21st century America, these entities and individuals are the real threat and their destructive impulse based on fear, greed and hate must be countered through deep listening, reason and action.

Get over it, all of you who fondly romanticize past generations—the 1950’s are over and most Americans are the better for it. I know I am. Do you really want to go back to the days of girdles, beehive hairdos and white bread? Oh, and white folks,  let’s not forget the lynchings. Yes, let’s never forget the lynchings. Thank you.

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All Lives WILL Matter When BLACK LIVES MATTER.

At first hearing, the phrase, “All lives matter,” sounds like a no-brainer. Duh—of course all lives matter, right? Who could possibly disagree with this statement?

I do.

As a white woman, I disagree. I disagree because implicit in the rather benign and seemingly rational statement that, “All lives matter,” is an inherent bias that rather simply identifies “all” from a white perspective and experience of life in America. However, this assumption does not reflect the full reality of experience for “all” Americans—African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, LGBTQ—and must be contested. It’s a deeply coded phrase and yet another convenient “little white lie” that the dominant (but not for long) group soothes itself with and justifies its ongoing control through. It’s a phrase that makes white folks feel good about themselves—a “Hallmark” greeting card-like sentiment for social crisis and institutional racism.  Warm, fuzzy and white. A real kumbaya moment.

As far as I’m concerned, when Black lives truly matter as much as white ones and African Americans are treated under the law in the same way as whites, when the bubble of white privilege and illusion is popped, when absolute equality is a given and underlying racial bias, hate and fear is non-existent, then—and only then—will I agree to use the phrase,”All lives matter.”

Until then, BLACK LIVES MATTER, first.

Duh.

In Memorium_July 8

IN MEMORY – BLACK LIVES MATTER RALLY, UO CAMPUS, JULY 8, 2016

Black Lives Matter_UO Campus_July8

BLACK LIVES MATTER RALLY, UO CAMPUS, JULY 8, 2016

Black Lives Matter_UO Capmus_July 8

BLACK LIVES MATTER RALLY, UO CAMPUS, JULY 8, 2016