I’m not going to sugarcoat-it has been a frustrating and scary week to be a person of color in America.
I had a different piece planned for this week but I have just found so distracted by what is happening in the news cycle that I wasn’t able to make much headway. So, I wanted to address what has actually been weighing on me. I didn’t actually want to be keeping up with this absurd sideshow but at the same time I haven’t been able to look away. It has been absolutely appalling to not only see the Commander in Chief target four American female congresswomen of color but to also see his base whipped into a racist frenzy, chanting “Send her back” about Rep. Ilhan Omar, an AMERICAN citizen. It is one of the biggest disservices in arts (and science!) education that we are taught to memorize all these dates and facts, like they are static and have no bearing on our present. Based on the public school system, you would think that Fascism died after the World Wars and the 1960s Civil Rights movement fixed race relations forever. This could not be further from the truth.
This is not the America that my parents envisioned for us when they came. I know this because they said so in our group chat, and have articulated this many times to me since November 2016. The word choice opens old wounds for many people, of schoolyard bullies. For others, it has amplified insults hurled on a daily basis. It’s been psychologically and emotionally draining for me and I imagine for a lot of you as well.
So, what should we be doing? If you’re the TFG staff, you write your feelings. But worry not, I have a few suggestions for you as well, dear Reader.
- Check out our Profiles series: I am not just saying this as a shameless plug for our other articles (though it is admittedly that as well). We have talked to so many wonderful creators, especially creators of color. It was really cathartic for us to be speaking to such wonderful humans who have been spending their time putting beautiful things into the world and being warriors for the arts. They have been vulnerable and bold, whimsical and analytical. Whatever inspiration you are looking for, I hope you find it there.
- Go to a museum or art shows/markets this weekend: While at TFG we are advocates for finding art everywhere (read: digitally), there is merit in finding your tribe and feeling a sense of community in real life. Go and support your local artists and small museums. Oftentimes, museums will host lectures or special exhibits that respond to issues in their communities. You are bound to find something new and interesting there.
- Unplug (however you can): Despite the impending heat wave hitting New England this weekend, I hope you can take some time to step away from the news and social media. These platforms are designed to capitalize on attention and outrage and it is up to us to set healthy boundaries. Even if it is just an afternoon cleaning and listening to a podcast, your brain needs the time to recharge.
This weekend, I am excited to see The Farewell, a new film directed by Lulu Wang and starring Awkwafina. I am prepared to love it and to cry my eyes out. It will be great.
Being a pragmatist, I don’t think this is likely to get better soon. But just know that we are processing this with you and that there are so many wonderful people out there who feel similarly and are working to make the world more just.