Race is an immense, complex, and sensitive topic that still embroils the American public and defines its history. Despite the fact that I think about racial issues on a regular basis and have tried to incorporate it into my art making, it’s not easy for me to write about. Addressing race is uncomfortable, and the pitfalls are numerous, so why approach it in the first place? The problem is that as a white heterosexual male, I can choose not to address race at all; it is perhaps the hallmark of my privilege that I can ignore it altogether, even though it defines who I am since I have benefited from imbalanced racial power structures. The subject of identity is something I can effortlessly avoid—a freedom granted to me by the color of my skin, my gender, and my sexual orientation. Instead, I prefer to consider how I can constructively contribute to a conversation around identity. What I’ve continued to learn is that the basic act of attempting to contribute can be useful in itself. I am aware that, as a white male who explicitly addresses matters of race and especially the ways in which we perform whiteness and blackness, I run the risk of failure. But I hope that, even in these failures, a dialogue can be prodded open and, in the process, a space will be made for empathy and change.
As we move forward as a nation, it’s not always so easy to tell if our innovations are making for a more equitable society. I’m interested in addressing the fallacies of post-race talking points within our technocratic culture and skewering the often-aired, white perspective that identities are now fluid, and that the history of slavery and all its reverberations are no longer as relevant today. Locating and acknowledging one’s privileges is an important way to begin that conversation. For me, this video is just a start.