Thursday, December 4, 2014

Can art get under our skin?

In despair and grief over what these recent tragedies mean for our society, I hold out hope that the most creative responses can somehow cut through the idiocy that passes for most of the mainstream media coverage and  the racism and hate and ignorance and fear that seems to be flooding the interwebs these days.  

First of all, check out #Alivewhileblack and then #crimingwhilewhite on twitter. Reading the two feeds back to back is undeniable evidence of privilege and as good as the most eloquent response of writers and pundits. 

Unfortunately, no one who really needs to will watch Spike Lee's edit of the Eric Garner video with scenes from Do The Right Thing.  That's too bad, because it's chilling and difficult to watch, but also impossible to watch it and not see that this is just cold-blooded murder. 

I hope many more will see the street art response in Ferguson:

That's the work of 29 year old street artist, Damon Davis. Read about his inspiration here.

Finally, let's remember that when Martin Luther King was assassinated, he was planning the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C. King wanted to shut down the nation’s capital in the spring of 1968 through massive civil disobedience until the government agreed to abolish poverty. King saw the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike as the beginning of a nonviolent revolution that would redistribute income.  He may have been non-violent, his resistance strategy was designed to make oppression impossible to ignore or avoid. Some believe his murder was part of conspiracy designed to stop him before he could realize his vision. 

So let's up the game with the protests and die-ins and general civil disobedience.  Resist. 

The image below is by Chip Thomas