4/29/14, Day, 13, 694: Fittings, Silence, Noise
This day is so named in part because I hosted costume fittings for Jane the Plain while continuing to work on TCG stuff. Last week was a 60+ hour TCG work week, and I’ll probably equal or top that this week.
Yesterday, I posted this excellent essay from Barclay Goldsmith of Borderlands Theater on a Mexican/U.S. project connected to the drug war in Mexico. It details the different kinds of silence about the violence that he experienced from U.S. artists (one of guilt and complicity) and Mexican artists (one harder to parse simply, but certainly in part of justifiable fear).
As I was working on that post, the news landed that LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was receiving the maximum penalty for racist statements he made in a private conversation, recorded and released by an ex-girlfriend. As is now our culture’s custom, online opinions were quickly posted about the verdict, with opinions about other people’s opinions appearing soon after.
I look at the verdict as the right victory for the wrong incident but the right reasons: Donald Sterling should have faced this kind of backlash when he was repeatedly trying to force out or drive away black and Latina/o people from the apartment buildings he owns. This active, deliberate racism is far more damaging than bigoted comments made in private. But we are a different culture than we were even a few years ago, when he was fined 2.73 million dollars for his discriminatory practices. Now, it seems not a day goes by without some fresh example of bigotry, racism and cultural appropriation, and subsequent outline outrage. The outrage is good, necessary, and as it did in this case, can lead to positive change that wasn’t possible before.
But then there are these silences about things like the so-called drug war, which have far more powerful damaging effects on people of color. Outrage over bigoted behavior is easy: I can sign a few petitions in outcry against Sterling and within a few days see a measure of justice brought to pass. Meanwhile, people of color in this country are incarcerated at record rates and people in some areas of Mexico are subject to terrifying levels of violence and fear. How can we build on these moments of outrage against personal bigotry to mount the kind of sustained outcry necessary to dismantle institutional systems of oppression?
As always, these thoughts are more about examining my own actions (or lack thereof) than judging the actions of others. I hope to spend more time thinking these things through when (if?) my schedule eases up after Jane the Plain and the Conference…
Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…
Writing: 102 out of 120 days
Spanish: 92 out of 120 days
Music: 10 out of 25 days
What small things did I do yesterday to help build the Honeycomb?
(And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?”)
- For Flux, hosted Jane the Plain, and supported an eblast and ForePlay progress;
- Signed a petition in support of raising the minimum wage nationally;
- Worked an 11-hour day at TCG on a number of projects;
- Asked my Senators to support the minimum wage raise;
- Signed a petition in support of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint;
- Cooked and ate all vegetarian meals (mostly organic, some local) and added no direct food waste (plastics bags, plastic water bottles, etc.).