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Hank Willis Thomas, “Raise Up” (2014) at the Goodman Gallery of South Africa booth, 2014 Art Basel Miami Beach (photo Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

Editor’s Note: The author of this article, who works in a prominent art PR agency, requested that the following be published anonymously as not to jeopardize her job or professional contacts.

It’s not easy to be a black woman working in the arts. Not on days like today. It’s been 11 days since we learned that the officer who killed Mike Brown won’t be indicted. Three days have passed since Eric Garner’s murderer got off scotch free, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice was buried. I’m having trouble keeping track of the casualties in the war against black bodies, but if you were to ask my colleagues at a New York arts PR firm, they’d tell you that’s all secondary to Art Basel Miami Beach.

You’d think that today was another day of museum acquisitions, art world gossip, and business as usual. It’s not business as usual for me though, because I have to reconcile what it means to work in a community that is indifferent to my existence. That’s not hyperbole.

In arts PR, we pay attention to all news because art is dependent on culture. Many of my co-workers would argue that art is life, and we take pride in keeping each other apprised to major headlines. We refresh the pages of international news outlets all day, and when something of particular interest happens you’ll often hear one of us yelling from our desks to share with the office. When the cat-calling video went viral, we were crushed. A blogger compiled Chris Pratt memes and we gathered and gawked. Kim K’s daughter painted her Hermes bags and we gagged in unison. So imagine my continued surprise that the news about Brown and Garner still hasn’t been acknowledged. Are black lives not relevant enough? Is the black experience in today’s America not worthy of discussion?

When my co-workers don’t acknowledge Mike Brown and Eric Garner, that says to me that my life, and the lives of people who look like me, isn’t important. Or at least, it’s not more important than Miley Cyrus’s latest “artwork.”

It’s a paralyzing feeling to be surrounded by people who don’t acknowledge that #blacklivesmatter. I’ve accepted that as long as I’m in PR, and not working for a black firm, I will more often than not be the only black person on staff. I’m okay with that because I’m of the belief that people of color need to play a role in telling the stories of artists of color. Just like it’s important for women to speak and write about female artists. I believe my black perspective is imperative because sometimes it takes a black person to be the authority on black subjects. It’s that simple.

What’s not simple is trying to balance my position as a black woman in the world with my position at work. When colleagues and clients make ignorant statements, I do not want to bite my tongue. Yet, I know that if I make public every internal battle I face in the art world today I will be seen as the angry black woman. And no matter what feature story I place, or epic crisis I avert, my successes will be trumped by my attitude that doesn’t fit company culture. On days like today though, I’m realizing just how harmful silence really is.

It’s not like my colleagues don’t know how to talk about blackness in the arts. We talk about it all the time! We write press release upon press release about the importance of promoting artists of color so that their perspectives are included in conversations about race today. And when we’re successful, we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done — because of our work another black voice is featured, and audiences are educated, and we sleep easy knowing that we’ve made a difference. Today, though, there’s no conversation. No job well done. No sleeping easy.

It’s a problem that I work in a profession that capitalizes on how cool it is to be black until it’s not cool to be black. If Kehinde Wiley decided to make black men killed by #damngoodcops the subject of his next portrait series, the art world would care. Wiley’s dealers would rightfully sell his works as the important documents of our time — and they’d make a pretty penny. Curators and critics would praise the series as an important reflection of this turbulent moment in American history. My colleagues would tell the media that an exhibition of his work is the most important statement about racism today.

Unfortunately, racism doesn’t only exist when white people want to acknowledge and benefit from it. I’ve now learned what it really means to be a black woman working in the arts. It means I carry the burden with none of the gains. It means that black lives in this country will never be more newsworthy to my peers than art world scandal. It means that I need to come to terms and accept that many of my peers, who exploit black art and the black experience, really don’t care about these issues when it really counts.

61 replies on “Blacked Out in the Art World”

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s particularly appalling to experience such impotence within an industry that pretends to value political transgression and giving voice to the underrepresented (as evidenced by 10,000 similarly worded press releases).
    Such hypocrisy would make me consider a career change. Good luck.

  2. Like many race peddlers you display an almost aggressive lack of curiosity when it comes to the facts about these cases; ending up as the tedious and infuriatingly obtuse class of perpetual victim. Telling the truth is an important skill, but especially when talking about people who lost their lives: Brown, Garner, and Rice don’t need the works of your vain imaginations, there is enough tragedy in the truth.

      1. I think what he is saying is the author is making a cheap grab on these murder cases because they do not represent or support the particular argument she is making about people in the art world. He thinks she is capitalizing on something inappropriately.

      2. Since you accept the fact that the deaths were a result of racism, and that due process to determine criminal responsibility was perverted by racial bias; then no, I don’t make sense. If you look at the facts: hands up was a lie; no medical evidence that a choke hold caused Mr. Garners death; no evidence that the 12 yr old was killed because he was black; then I make perfect sense.

          1. Only thing is, you admit that I am using facts, so your words are not really any kind of challenge to anything I’ve said; you just whipped up some invalid BS that you are now offering around the room as a tasting plate. At least I am dealing with facts!

        1. Sorry shawn, the medical examiner says eric garners death was a homicide. Specifically compression of the trachea and comression of the chest. In laymen terms , HE COULDN’T BREATH!!!

          1. Sorry Andrew, but the medical examiner’s report, and the Grand Jury, both determined the Mr. Garner did not die of asphyxia, but from preexisting obesity and heart condition. We can certainly argue that he wouldn’t have died that day if he wasn’t wrestled to the ground by police, but we can also argue that he wouldn’t have been placed in that position if he hadn’t escalated the confrontation and resisted arrest. There is blame enough to go around, but to claim racism was the cause of this incident is a distracting, destructive, and unhelpful lie.

          2. …what is with you people (supporters of the police state) and your victim-blaming? were you there? have YOU been the target of racism? have you experienced an entire lifetime of slights, innuendo and overt disrespect? do you know anything about lacrosse? would you then express yourself like you’re an ‘authority’ on it? a charlatan

          3. You might have spared me the mortifying stupidity of your screed today if you had simply committed to screaming into a pillow for an hour. But since I have been treated to this expression of jackassary that purports to make a logical case, let’s dissect it.

            What is it about refuting the claim of racism that makes me a supporter of the “police state”?

            The fact that Mr Brown and Mr Garner were both suspected of crimes and were resisting arrest is hardly victim blaming; it is stating the facts of the incidents.

            You ask me, “were you there?” No, I was not. Let me ask you, Were you there?

            You ask if I have been a target of racism, slights, innuendo, and overt disrespect: I am a human being living in human society, but what I have personally experienced is irrelevent.

            You want to know if I know anything about lacrosse? Do you know anything about human physiology? Do you know that it is IMPOSSIBLE for someone to speak if their airway is blocked. That if someone is choking on food they have to make a hand signal of a hand to the throat to indicate they are choking. If a mixed martial artist is in a choke hold, they have to “tap out” to signal they give up. Why? Because they cannot speak. So someone saying over and over again that they cannot breath actually proves that they can breath.

            And I seem to have missed the part where you proved that anything of these cases were the result of racism? A charlatan, indeed!

          4. “…what I have personally experienced is irrelevent (sic)…”! …pseudo-logic! pseudo-intellectualism! sadly, tragically we all make this mistake of believing our perception of the world IS the world and everyone else’s is IRRELEVANT!

          5. What do you know about logic, or intellectualism, pseudo or otherwise?

            You tell me, “tragically we all make this mistake of believing our perception of the world IS the world and everyone else’s is IRRELEVANT” then what value does YOUR personal perception have? And since I am relying on facts rather than personal experiences to mold my interpretation of events then doesn’t that make my claims to truth, and reality, superior to your claims of mere personal perception? And wouldn’t that make your opinions stated as fact the real pseudo-logic?

            I have to say, this infallible rhythm, this all-pervading noise of cow-bells and flatulence into which your comments settle is distressing.

          6. Goodness, so much cleverness, so much hard-wrought writing for such a myopic, self-serving and self-congratulatory point of view. The adrenalin it must have to taken to get this down just so… ufff!

          7. Goodness, so much cleverness, so much hard-wrought writing for such a myopic, self-serving and self-congratulatory point of view. The adrenalin it must have to taken to get this down just so…back atchu, ufff! While I use my “cleverness” to address misinformation and poor logic, you use yours as a triumph of imbecility, in an intellectual category of irrelevance. “Wise men speak when they have something to say; Fools when they have to say something.” Funny how Plato had you pegged almost 2400 yrs ago.

          8. ok Shawn the grand jury cannot determine how somebody diedthe grand jury doesn’t do an autopsy the medical examiner does. and if you just do a simple Google searchof Eric Garnersrs medical exam report,you will see that you are very wrong. Every news outlet every single article about this has acknowledged the fact that the medical examiner said that he died from compression to the neck and chest! Where the hell are you getting your f***** up information from?

          9. Okay Andrew, the Grand Jury examines the evidence (yes from the Medical Examiner) and determines what is factual and relevant in determining their verdict. They ruled that compression to the neck and chest exacerbated pre existing health conditions to cause Eric Garner’s death. The case was investigated and settled by a Grand Jury, with due process; so, “Where the hell are you getting your f***** up information from?” Were you there? What proof do you have that anything that happened was a result of racist cops? And if you have proof of a racial murder why didn’t you present your evidence to the Grand Jury?

          10. since you’re so good at rewriting everything that I writefind my comments about this being racially motivated and rewrite that. Idon’t need proof that it was racially motivated because that’s not my argument. Go back through my comments and tell me where you saw me saying was racially motivated!I’ve maintained from the very beginning that this was caused by over zealous and undertrained Police.the medical examiner’s report said he died compressed into the chest and neck. It also said that he had heart problems and he was overweight and he had all kinds of other s*** going on with.it’s all of the talking heads in the media that claim his pre-existing conditions exacerbated his death. That’s a pack of bullshit and I’m going to tell you why. Cuz I don’t care if you’re sick as a dog or strong as an ox, if someone puts enough pressure on your chest and neck you won’t be able to breathe and you will die. That’s common f****** sense.if I die in a car accident today the medical report is going to say how I died from the car accident its going to list all of my pre existing conditions it’s going to listen whatever is in my blood is going to list everything that was wrong with me that doesn’t make it might cause of death the cause of death was from the f****** blunt force trauma from the car accident. I’m going to say it again the medical report does not state this pre existing condition exacerbated his death the talking heads on Fox News is saying that.but it’s a lot easier to ignore common sense. one f****** a****** at Fox News had the nerve to say he didn’t get soaked it was a headlock when the cop clearly had his hand over the mans trachea

          11. This article and the comment thread regarding this article are centered on the issues of race and race relations: that is my point! The one you have obviously missed….Derrrrr!

  3. “I believe my black perspective is imperative because sometimes it takes a black person to be the authority on black subjects. It’s that simple.”

    This might be the key to understanding why you are not being engaged on discussions you want to have. The black people I discuss race issues with do not believe themselves to have “The Authority” on “Black Subjects,” but instead say what they think and believe about the world and issues in it just as everyone else does. One friend has been in tears because she knew I would never know what she and other black people go through, but our relationship is stronger because it was a discussion by two people who want to understand each other better, and the lives they live. And she knows that even my best efforts to personally engage and understand black communities might not even go over well with them because of my skin color, creating suspicion of my very intensions. She sees my efforts and pities their naïvetée. But she respects me and I respect her.

    It is also worth pointing out that exploitation of race is not something white people (this unhelpful abstraction to personify the art world) do exclusively. A black artist friend of mine is trapped in his own career growth because he does not want to be a part of the “BAW” as he calls it (i.e., Black Art World) but they want him in. He knows all the players but will not be recruited. The problem for this guy is *not* wanting to be thought of *at all* as “The Authority” on “Black Subjects” like you want to be thought of, and PR moves such as the one you are doing here reinforce the very cultural branding he is fighting against in making his way around in the art world and the career he wants to have. Well, fuck him, right?

    If you go back to read past articles on race, one or two about the YAM reaction to the Whitney Biennial curation, you will see me take counterarguments (I forgot what handle I was posting under) where Hrag called me a coward for not posting under my real name, and told me stop posting unless I did. He did not like “my side” of the debate. Yet he is perfectly happy to publish your view, written in anonymity, to protect your place in the art world, since it matters more than a person who would hold a different view.

    These aren’t discussions. These are lectures. Thanks for the press release. Enjoy your anonymity as I will mine. Meanwhile, people who respect each other will carry on these face-to-face discussions you, “The Authorty” on “Black Subjects,” can’t seem to have.

    1. The difference here is she has not pointed at an individual but is talking generalities. Also, good job using your black friends to try to silence another black voice.
      You’re so angry about race. I guess there’s an underlying reason you should explore.

      1. “The difference here is she has not pointed at an individual but is talking generalities.”

        Right, that’s why I called it a PR statement.

        “Also, good job using your black friends to try to silence another black voice.”

        Her voice was not silenced. But I am glad you recognize, by my two examples of my friends (or what’s called first-hand knowledge), that she is indeed “another” black voice. She didnt’ seem to understand that in what she wrote.

        “You’re so angry about race. I guess there’s an underlying reason you should explore.”

        Pathetic ad hominem much?

          1. I did not try to silence. I tried to do what I did, which is show that she is one voice among other voices.

            The reason my counterargument seems personal is because it cannot be otherwise, given that it seems to have been missed by you and her that her individual claim, her personal claim to authority, was fallacious. *You are not the authority you claim to be* is a matter of my application of informal logic, in this situation, not personal disparagement. “My black friends disagree with you” is just giving empirical evidence that her claim is false, in case logic wasn’t enough.

            Sorry to disappoint, but the above isn’t a basis for you to accuse me of having moral deficiencies.

  4. As an art world outsider I’ve generally assumed that those on the inside tend to entertain conversations around classism, sexism, racism, capitalism, … (etc.) with respectable and generally politically correct verbiage only so far as the conversation remains at a healthy distance. It gives certain people the opportunity to pat themselves on the back in public without the burden of fully diving into a substantial conversation around these issues to generate solutions. I’d imagine that trying to generate serious dialogue in the arts would be followed with awkward silence until someone perks up with “sooo…. who’s up for bong rips”?

  5. Scholar Rayvon Fouché describes what he refers to as a “problematic of vision,” or notion that hinges on the idea that “value, truth, purity, and legitimacy” of oppressed people are judged by the standards of dominant (mainstream) society. Thus, people that fall outside of the dominant’s criteria of what it means to be seen are not perceived as being as “valuable, truthful, pure, or legitimate” as the dominant because they cannot be clearly detected through the “interpretive viewing apparatus” of the dominant. In other words, they have blinders on and can’t see us.

    This means that the impact of the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Gardner on black people is invisible to those who benefit most from the status quo. It means that, from their vantage point, the perception of racism is not in sync with the reality of many (not all) black Americans.

  6. Oh wow, what a suckerpunch. I’m gonna signal boost this. It’s a crushing and sobering reminder of what can only be called ally exploitation.

  7. ‘A very poignantly moving letter! I feel shame for your oblivious co-workers. I do have a question for Hyper: Do you have any staff/contributing black writers? If not, it would be a good idea.

    1. Our writers reflect a wide range of cultures. Some of the writers who contribute to our blogazine in various ways and identify as black include Janelle Grace (our Tumblr managing editor), Chloe Bass, Seph Rodney, Chase Quinn, Tiana Reid, among others.

  8. “It means I carry the burden with none of the gains.” That’s really the key. We are tolerated when we can be held up as a symbol of (minimal) progress but expected to cheer for our white peers as their careers are promoted far ahead of ours, all the while being told how “brave” and “necessary” we are. I’m over it.

  9. Discussing race on these threads is impossible. I love reading the articles, but I hate reading the threads. All they do is give space to people to try to sound smart and right no matter what. It could take days. To get drawn in is to fuel the anger and resentment, probably based on some childhood issue…being bullied or neglected or worse. I’m sorry.

    As for my response to this article, I get it. This person is between a rock and a hard place. White people, like me, can choose to pay attention to the current racially charged upheavals and revelations, or we can just go about our business. To any degree and whichever way we want. And I bet her co-workers don’t want her needling them; I can imagine even her presence can be making them feel uncomfortable right now, a little too self conscious. Well, welcome to her club.

    1. Good comment. There are only two people in the thread dissing on the article, shawn chapman and soup — and from their rhetorical strategies I would guess they are the same person. Together they take up a lot of space. I agree with you, that much negative energy and emotion would seem to indicate psychological distortion of some kind. Racism is just one form that it takes, I suspect.

    2. I second Alsace’s comment. Thank you for this. It is empathic and ethical and begins to understand the burden the author shoulders. It’s really worth saying that some of us just have more weight to carry than others, more difficult knots to unpick–and through no fault of our own. It’s worth acknowledging because this is how we start being ethical.

  10. Whew. Tough read. I love it and Hrag’s comments. Isn’t it amazing how blackness is explored, examined and questioned only during times of immense tragedy? But when blackness shines, it is only a blurb with no commentary.

  11. Capital Punishment, in other words ‘Death sentence’…is for crimes of murder in the first degree and is even illegal in some states…It’s not for resisting arrest, petty theft ,minor drug dealing, and painting graffiti etc. More important, it’s not punishment for someone who happened to be getting away from a policeman after committing these petty crimes. …and that said ,any crime except first degree murder. If you can’t catch’em, its no excuse to murder them.. “Circumstances that are taken into consideration are the severity of the offense, how much of a threat the suspect poses, and the suspect’s attempts to resist or flee the police officer. When arresting someone for a misdemeanor, the police have the right to shoot the alleged offender only in self-defense. If an officer shoots a suspect accused of a misdemeanor for a reason other than self-defense, the officer can be held liable for criminal charges and damages for injuries to the suspect…(According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died after being shocked by police Tasers. …..During the twelfth century, law allowed the police to use deadly force if they needed it to capture a felony suspect, regardless of the circumstances. ” http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Deadly+Force

  12. This is a courageous article. I commend the author who although anonymous in byline is certainly taking some risks in putting her neck out to be open about this topic in such a public way. I’m not going to claim a deep understanding of racism since I don’t have firsthand experience of living a black life, so I am not going to weigh on the thread here. However, I do feel more motivated after reading this article to think about how race shapes my relationships at work, to think more about where my colleagues are coming from. I know racism can feel like an overwhelming topic. But I think we all get to make choices in our daily lives that can enrich or hurt the people around us. And we can’t just go through the day on autopilot – we gotta think about stuff. This article definitely gave me some new perspective that’s going to inform what i say and how I say it.

  13. Thank you for this article! I’m white and I live in a black neighborhood and most of my social life is with black people. I paint my relationships and my experience. Therefore most of my work contains representations of black people. I was doing this for myself and my friends (mostly black) until I started getting some art world attention. In this new context, I have struggled similarly with the feeling that this issue that is central to my consciousness on a daily basis–American apartheid–goes unmentioned among many peers. I do not envy the burden this author must carry in her professional life. For some reason, many white people feel like racism is not really their concern, so for her to speak up marginalizes her further. I don’t know how to make white people care other than using my work to show how *I* care. I’m headed to Ferguson to absorb and see and talk to people in preparation for my next body of work. I know that painting black people is risky for a white person and I always welcome conversation and critique. I would rather take the chance to examine my feelings and relationships in my work than operate safely in the realm of theory. I hope others continue to join me in this conversation. And I’m sending love to you, anonymous sister! http://www.catewhite.com

    1. i’m just curious, but do you choose to paint people of color because they just so happen to be prevalent in your environment/relationships or is it also the fact that they are people of color (and you are not)? i don’t want to sound rude but from your description it sounds a little bit exploitative.

      1. Thanks for the question, Russianxnavy. Not rude at all. This has been the big question I’ve been asking myself, and as I do this work and have more conversations, my consciousness and intentions around it has evolved. The people I’ve painted are the people I have the most intimacy with. Rory is the main person. I began painting him as an expression of love–a love that lots of people in the other social group I am supposed to fit into didn’t regard as ‘real’ or valid. I think I was painting our relationship to make it visible to others, to integrate these separated parts of my social world. Then I suddenly found myself in a position to participate in the art convo where there are very few images of black bodies that aren’t there to make a point about ‘blackness.’ Individual identity becomes secondary to symbolic political positions. When I had the opportunity to speak to a larger audience, I decided that I wanted to see if individuals could translate into public view without losing their identity as individuals, or if the viewer would disregard the person for their symbolic projections. Rory certainly doesn’t feel exploited and I’m embarrassed to tell him that people think he might be exploited because that tells him that people can’t see him as an equal to me. I think that ultimately, the nature of the relationship between me and the person I’m painting is worked out between us. This brings up the question, ” Can cultural power dynamics be transcended/equalized within the context of intimate relationships? And if so, can those intimate relationships when viewed by culture, retain their transcendent state?” I don’t know. These are the questions I’m asking. Many people from the hood came to the art opening for this work and expressed a lot of positive feeling about it. I’m always asking people about what they think and telling them what other people think about exploitation. I feel like we are having productive/connective conversations. I also have come to realize that my aversion to institutional power and my comfort at the margins came from my own sense of dis-empowerment causing me to feel more at home with marginal communities, thus marginalizing already marginal people. I have stopped feeling this way as I have recognized a deeper source of power in myself, and my interest in painting people has expanded. This next body of work will probably include a lot more people. I’m just as interested in connecting with white police and seeing what happens in those paintings. So, it’s a process of exploration and I’m willing to be a ‘bad person’ to uncover more unknowns.

  14. I’ve read this article twice and thank the author. Thanks for taking the time to articulate a deeper and more personal aspect of an obvious problem. It makes me want to understand why things are going down this way in Art PR.

    What makes quiet? Guilt; Having nothing more to add; Not wanting to say anything that isn’t ahead of the mark in a prescient sensitive environment; The inclination in this country to make news entertainment? None of it excuses a lack of professional responsibility. My take on the ‘art world’ is that it is so investment and marketing driven, it’s not the place to check the pulse of human response. Usually it seems more like a bubble stretching over the emperor’s new clothes. Too bad it’s missing it’s chance to empower realit

    1. Precisely, Lorraine. The market does not have a conscience and is not invested in us coming to a more intimate understanding of our humanity through understanding the same endowment in others. It’s one of the more salient features of my life I’m really wrestling with: how to be a decent human being in a culture that tends to reward ignoring the ethical obligations and opportunities that come with being here now and making money while we are at it.

  15. I think this needed critique is more in relation to the art market as opposed to the art world. This is the longest thread I seen at hyper allergic in a long time. We are trying to have the conversation.

      1. “Museum acquisitions, art world gossip, and business as usual,” as well as “arts PR” is the market not necessarily the art. Most art is happening outside of the market where Brown and Garner and others are being acknowledged. In fact, I think the most challenging and engaging art comes from places that the market dominant, and are in many ways oppressed, like, on the streets, China, Sub-Sahara Africa and “outsider art.” PR is a market function and most art is made regardless of the market. Most of the artists I know are way more moved by the black experience than Miley Cyrus. The art market seems more moved by Art Basel Miami.

        1. I think she’s describing a more human experience of racial self consciousness that could be found anywhere in the art world, which, broadly speaking, includes the market. That’s not to say that there aren’t places, as you point out, where that it isn’t the status quo, as with “most of the artists you know”. I’m here in NYC and I have to say, her story rings true.

          1. I agree. My only question is whether the experience is prevalent in the art world as a whole or more so in areas where the art market dominates. There has been a similar disparity between the experiences of woman artists in the art market subset where there is a lesser representation than there is in the art world as a whole.

          2. I think it’s prevalent….I go out all the time around here and it’s quite a light shade of white. The principles are there, when it’s convenient and cool, but unless it’s at the Studio Museum, or a show of a black artist, the scene is not what one would call diverse. This may not include street art or outsider art…but those are the exceptions. And I’m not talking about what you may like, but what is actually going on in the art “scene”….

          3. Having grown up in Detroit an living and working in Oakland I’m sure my experience is different than yours. What I’m trying to express it that the experience of people making art, across the country and around the world is much more diverse than experiences in the art market and the art scene.

          4. Punktoad, there’s really no bone to pick between us. I am heartened to know you have a diverse community of artists where you live!

  16. What a powerful, well-written, disturbing and saddening piece. Thank you for sharing. I worked in marketing and PR dept in packaged goods, and that was bad enough. I can’t even imagine working as a black woman in mainstream arts PR.

  17. Thank you for writing this, and thanks to Hyperallergic for taking it on. Black lives do matter. And coming to an appreciation of that (if you aren’t there already) likely means coming into a better understanding of your own humanity.

  18. Thank you for writing this–anonymous or not, you took a risk. I don’t think anyone should “Deal with it Folks” as stated below. It’s about impacting change, or being an agent of change.

    I am a white artist who is moved and passionate about the continued
    atrocities of America against its black citizens. I am working on a
    series regarding this but feel I have to publish them anonymously
    because they will not be taken seriously if done by a white individual.
    I worry that as a white person I am not allowed to hurt for Eric
    Garner, or be disgusted by the jury who released his murderers…If you
    are reading this (author of the article) please contact me. If you’re
    open to it, I would like to have an honest discussion about impacting
    change. We have to do Something, right? I just need to talk about the best way to do it.

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