I missed a post yesterday because I spent most of the day on the public transit system. We here in Portland, Oregon have a really good public transit system, that goes most places, and serves all kinds of people. Muslim women in colorful abayas ( I hope I spelled that correctly, I am not sure), beaded and fancy patterned. Little old white ladies, and Russian ladies, one of whom has this beaded sweater that is a thing of beauty!
Black people from places in Africa, the Somalies with their long thin faces and the Hispanic people, everyone is on there! I like it. I like the sound of the different languages as they fill the bus, and the train, that we call the Max. It is something very cool to me, a mind bender, that we all, in all our diversity are all descendants from mtEve, a woman who lived 200,00o years ago.
She is the mother of us all, as genetic science has shown us, and from all of this diversity comes not just a diverse human race, but the art that goes with each culture is diverse, as well. From the 4000 year old worship of the Hindu Saraswati, to Osun of the Yoruba to the Native American petroglyphs and Navajo blankets to the Celtic knotwork. It is all representative of the infinite creativity that we humans are capable of.
That said, I have to say, I think racism is an indicator of pathology. I have found that those who hate others for the color of their skin, or their faith, are hating on their relatives. It takes 20,000 years for the melanin in skin to change from dark to light and is in no way an indicator of any sort of superiority, just of vitamin D production.
It really bothers me to hear racist nonsense; I have found that a bit of education can reach a certain kind of racist, the kind that was mostly raised to it, but in their heart of hearts knows it is not a good thing. I feel that as an artist, it is my obligation to address this, to address racism and the insanity that it causes.
One little fact, that most people, even the non-racist don’t realize, is that there are certain perceptions that are very inaccurate. One of those perceptions is that nonWhites make up most of the food stamp recipients and most of the welfare recipients. That is not true; 84% of the food stamps and welfare monies are collected by white folks.
Color of skin is no indicator of character; look at the current world elite. They are of many different colors and they are oppressive no matter where one finds ’em. It’s my belief that racism is encouraged by our government and our media with an eye to divide and conquer.
That’s where we artists come in…
It’s up to us to point this out. This world can be a better place, this world can be a safer place, if we, the citizens of this world, want it to be, badly enough. The internet has done, in one short generation, what thousands of years was not able to do, it brought us together, and it is bringing us a glimpse of each other’s lives. We, the People of the World, are seeing one another as regular joes. Just about everyone with a healthy brain wants to raise their kids in peace, most of us want to live lives of safety and lives that are productive.
It’s up to the writers, the artists, the dancers, the sculptors, the film makers, the actors, it’s up to us. Face it, we have power. Lots of it. We may be undervalued by the wealthy, but we are also feared. It’s why the GOP attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts. It’s part of the point of the austerity measures globally.
Fear me; I am not going away, I am not shutting up and I will continue, as long as there is life in me, to fight for the rights of my fellow humans. I want my kids and my grandkids and my great grandson (seriously, I have one, he’s almost 3) to live in safety and peace. I want us all to recognize mtEve in our fellow humans. I see her in every face that I pass.