Throughout the semester, I have been creating silkscreen prints centered around the African American identity. This was my latest print. The explanation of it is below and while I'm sure many will be quick to assume I am pulling the so called "race card", I urge you to read everything I have written below before coming to a conclusion.
The topic of race, especially in the South is a tense and sometimes painful one for everyone. I hope that my artwork will be a jumping off point for a productive and open dialogue.
This is my most recent silkscreen print.
I'm sure there will be plenty of people who will have a lot to say about this piece. While the initial message is pretty blatant, I feel that it still deserves an explanation.
This work is as much about "mental slavery" as it is about a flawed and biased justice system.
For people of color (Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans,etc...), our "American experience" is very different from that of White America. It can mean a life of joy and blessings, but it also consists of constantly being aware of and anticipating the hardships that are to come simply because of skin color or cultural background.
For me, being American means knowing that I will always have to work twice as hard in order to be taken half as seriously as the next person because 1. I am a female and 2. I am African American. It means having to constantly remind myself that the shade of my skin is just as beautiful as the girl next to me with the fairer skin tone and longer hair. It also means that I will forever feel the internal urge to be overly nice to people as a subconscious way to apologize for my race and the stereotypes that are attached to it.
While we know that we have a flawed justice system that is statistically proven to be biased against people of color, it should also be stated that we (Black people specifically) should take some responsibility for our own community as well. Mental slavery is a large part of what keeps us quick to get angry at another's success and slow to help our brother or sister who has fallen into a life of drugs, crime, or utter hopelessness.
My greatest hope is that I will have the courage to live a life in which my passion and love for others (regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion,etc...) transcends my capacity to hate or to hold onto hurts.