Art and social commentary; in other words, my two cents multiplied by a factor of ten

As I watch the political circus going on around me, I have to address some themes I keep hearing, ad naseum ( I probably have that spelled wrong, but spell check is stumped, too).

One of these, is the racist nonsense that Black people and Natives, need to “get over it and pull themselves up by the bootstraps”.

OK, time to talk about this.

Besides art, I’m also a student at Portland State University. My major is psychology. I find human behavior fascinating! I believe it to be the key to a better world. Part of that better world, is an understanding of all of the different factors that affect how we naked apes behave.

One very huge factor in the United States is called “transgenerational violence”. What this is, is the trauma that is passed down from one generation to another. How this happens, is that when the adults are traumatized then the children are as well. This leads to what I think can be compared to a generational case of PTSD.

The wounds are slow to heal; the hurt goes on and on. It doesn’t help that those who caused the wounds, also raised their children to a casual racism, a deep seated contempt of the very people that they hurt. By doing this, it allows otherwise “decent” people to degrade and oppress an entire people without guilt. It’s a false divide, an “Us or Them” mentality that it’s time we humans shed.

We are ALL “Us”. We are ALL “Them”.

I won the genetic lottery, one might say. My mixed race self looks all White. I’m not. I’m a very mixed bag, but I LOOK as lily white as a fish belly. That means that I hear things. I hear things that people feel comfortable saying that they would not say otherwise. I usually allow them JUST enough rope for the proverbial hangin’ of oneself. Then I spring it on ’em! It’s always amusing, I have to say.

I’m kinda perverse, like that.

I had originally planned another subject for my next art piece, but the muse has other ideas.

I found a fantastic piece of knick knick that some critter had uprooted at the local Fred Meyer’s. I scooped that up! It’s going to be part of an encaustic. I’ll be using that and some photo transfers of some of my non White ancestors. It’s going to be in a three panel view, but not a triptych at this point. I reserve the right to change that if the urge strikes…Image

The roots of that knick knick are tangled up in one another; the branch above is perfect for the panels. It’s going to be in threes, to reflect the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, that so negatively impacted some of my ancestors in the long run. Also, I want to use an obvious wood grain in the first panel to reflect the slave ships that brought another of my shadowy ancestors from Africa as well as the Pilgrims.


It has always bothered me the folks who go on and on about the Pilgrims as the founders of America. Uh, NO! There was a civilization here long before those trespassing Pilgrims. America was a nation of 500 tribes long before the White invasion. And not one of those 500 nations was Christian in origin, so once again, no, we were NOT founded as a Christian nation.

I want to reflect the chains that bound these people, the links from yesterday’s trauma to today’s problems on the various reservations and in the Black communities. The Indians have not gotten any better of a deal today. They are just the ignored.

Even today, in the Dakotas, there is practice that White people do, called “dooring”. In this practice, one murders an Indian by using a speeding car to approach a walking Native, and then they slam them with the open door. Generally this is at a rate of high speed, about 60 mph. Those who do this don’t get caught; they are rarely even looked for.

This contempt, this is what I want to address; this is what makes transgenerational violence go on and on and on. This contempt keeps Blacks, Indians and others from getting good jobs. There is a perception that the welfare rolls are full of brown people and that is just not true. 84% of welfare recipients are White.

One of the things we find in psychology and sociology, is that when people are lifted out of poverty, then the differences in crime and violence go away. When people are no longer fighting hopelessness, they don’t tend to become addicts, they don’t tend to view life as cheap.

If we want to have a better world, we, as a species, have to stop and LOOK at ourselves. We have to look and see, do we go with stereotypes that are usually VERY inaccurate, or do we look at people as PEOPLE?

I go for people as people.


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