Black Lives Matter: Readings for Artists and Business Owners
Black lives needs our support, always, not just during protests. Businesses need to be use every platform they can to fight the individual and institutional oppression of marginalized people.
Police brutality and racism is a white problem that white people created and need to fix. Not only now, but always. We need to unpack our privileges and roles as oppressors, accomplices, and artists.
Below are articles geared at the responsibilities of creative artists.
This is a live post that I'll be updating as articles make their way to me. There are so many fantastic articles out there, but I'm trying to curate ones with actionable items (or frameworks of actions you should not be taking). Last updated 6/9/2021
Black Lives Matter is Not a Design Challenge
When I see your overworked hand-lettering and your redraw of George’s selfie and your retro typography protest poster, I feel like I, as a black creative, should be joining in. If anyone, I should be making a statement, giving a hot take, offering art to the world.
I do not want to feel that way. I do not want to feel like my identity, my pain, my activism is a PR opportunity that I’m missing out on because non-Black artists have jumped so quickly at the chance to garner some likes, shares, and follows, cluttering the airways, even as we’re still processing our rage and sadness and figuring out what we can materially do to enact change. I don’t want to feel like I’m a trend and “my moment” has passed.
Do No Harm: Photographing Police Brutality Protests
You cannot put the lives of people you document in danger under the guise of objective journalism[...]
As photographers/filmmakers, we need to ask ourselves, is this image sousveillance (from the bottom pointing up, holding power-holders and oppressors accountable) or are we furthering surveillance (from the top pointing down, adding to a history of violence and surveillance of Black, Indigenous, and POC bodies, and creating a document that can be used to further that violence)?”
Social Media Post from Zack Rubin
*My voice is not more important than that of any POC speaking on the same issue*
If you're a photographer going to protests to photograph the people in the streets, make sure you're doing it for the right reason. Especially if you are in an area which the protests are at riot level.
If you want to use the photos you take to hold police accountable for escalating violence against protestors. That's ideal. If you want to take pictures of people uniting peacefully to send a message to our government and help spread the voices of POC in America. That's just as great. Want to show the acts of compassion that occur as a result of these protests, I love it, hell yeah!
HOWEVER, If you are taking pictures of people rioting and then sharing them online (likely without permission), you are opening the door for them to be blamed for incidents, doxxed by the Right Wing, AND potentially arrested/charged/murdered. [...]
You aren't just creating art, you're creating evidence. The images you take can have unintended consequences.
Equity Frameworks because Diversity isn't Enough
by Ben Hecht of the Harvard Business Review
Employees of color have openly called out racism in their own institutions. On this critical issue, neither consumers nor employees are looking for vague platitudes about change; they want to see companies committing to action within their own walls. [...]
Hecht hits on a few things that I really appreciate from relinquishing power for more equitable frameworks and doing continued assessment.
For me, in my role as CEO, that meant relinquishing some of my formal authority to a group of more inclusive decision-makers so that our most mission-critical decisions reflected a diversity of perspectives, even if I would have made a different decision on my own.
A supporting article that I really like that talks about some of the ways to support your Black colleagues, and this one talking about the heritage of trauma BIPOC (Black and Indigenous people of color) live, trigger warning for rape. sexual violence, and enslavement.
Educators Who Consider Themselves ‘White Allies’ Are Dangerous When It Comes To Developing Anti-Racist Classrooms
by Dr. Sana Shaikh, posted in Better Education in Feb 2021.
"Ironically, white educators and white leaders are now the ones that decide whether their classrooms or schools are culturally responsive. They determine how the term is operationalized with their teams and whether the aligned fidelity measures to examine that progress is fulfilled[...]
Culturally responsive spaces, like any type of change management, require clear definitions and metrics for success. If that does not happen, we will continue the same cycle: There will be many white allies, but no substantial change."
Here's a few local and tech based programs run by and geared at Black and brown communities that I am passionate about. I raised $240 in funds for Tech Foundry for my birthday. All images hyperlinked (apologies for some typos).