Tuesday, April 27

Triptych Against Racism

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I think this was the twelfth race against racism last Saturday. 3,300 runners entered. They close N. Lime Street in front of my home for registration and the starting line's the next block down. Someone said it's a 5K race. Since I never ran one of those things, and certainly don't know my Ks from my Ms... well.

The racers were determined. To run, and to make it clear that they were against racism. Odd thing though. It took a lot of looking among the 3,300 people to find runners whose race wasn't caucasian. And most seemed to have come in from the suburbs for the event. I didn't see any of my African-American or Hispanic city neighbors from around these blocks among the crowd. The male winners though were from Ghana.

There are four or five African guys every year who are running-gypsies, moving from prize-money-run to prize-money-run all around this country. Hard life, huh? No one asks them for their green cards. They just outdistance everyone else, collect the prize money and leave town... on to the next. Is there an irony there for the Race Against Racism idea? Not sure...

What do you think?


Faith said...

This is the first time I've cringed on this blog.
What is the # of African-American runners across the state or US? Are there usually a lot of AA runners in marathons across the country?
You said:
"No one asks them for their green cards." Wow! Does the marathon ask for green cards as verification of their legal status?
I have a question about the photo... is the photo to show that despite racing many keep their old ideas of who should be there and who should not? Who should win and what that US citizen should do with the money?

Barry Armer said...

I don't know her but I'm guessing that Faith voted for Obama and spends her spare time lurking on the Internet looking for causes to champion! She can't help it; if she finds a powder keg she has to light it!

Fear not Ted, I get your point! At least I think I do. The myth of racism is that it is perpetrated by whites against minorities; that whites are the bad guys and minorities are the victims. So you dare to wonder why you don't see the victims supporting this cause by running in the race in large numbers. It's a fair question to be sure, and a powder keg that Faith just could not pass up.

Nice photo by the way! Great post-processing as usual!


Faith said...

Actually, no Barry, I didn't vote for Obama and no, I don't lurk. I'm an artist who visits this site from time to time who is shocked beyond belief that someone I believed to be an intelligent individual would say something like this. One doesn't have to be an Obama supported to have their eyes pop out on the screen in shock and dismay at a photo they believed to support anti-racism only to feel the words with said photo supports it.

I didn't leave a link because Ted knows who I am. He knows my work, perhaps a little about me too. Since you've used your voice on the matter and I mine it would be nice to know Ted's thoughts.

Please do not sit back quiet.

Ted said...

• Lancaster is a city of about 70,000 people, and about half of them are what America calls “minorities”. The city is the seat of Lancaster County which is home to about half a million people, and less than ten percent of them are “minorities” – most living in Lancaster city.
• For the past dozen years the YWCA has sponsored a Race Against Racism. It is a fund raiser and while many who come are there for the run, the overwhelming number come out to show their antagonism for everything that racism represents.
• Last Saturday, 3,300 people signed up to participate in the event. Most were walkers, not runners, participating to express their deeply felt solidarity with opposition to the ugliness and irrationality of racism.
• Since I have attended all of these races, I have noticed that the overwhelming majority of the participants are not minority members. Indeed, I’d guess that fewer than five percent are from the largest “minorities” in the this area: African-American, and Latino.
• A party atmosphere characterizes the event. People are uniformly in a good mood and value the sense of community which it expresses.
• In its way, the event is a celebration of diversity more than an athletic or competitive event.
• So – when a party is given for diversity, I wonder, why it doesn’t come?

There was nothing more provocative to my question than that. Why are my representative pictures of the throngs almost totally of white people who overwhelming don’t live in the City of Lancaster where the race is run? Which is why I wrote, “Go figger”. Which challenges visitors to "figger out" what perplexes me.

Now, both Faith and Barry are artists whom I REEEEEELY respect. In a way, I’m quite pleased that my art has provoked each of you to explore different spaces. Okay, I’m not pleased that the spaces are uncomfortable, but I am glad that my work is more a question mark than an exclamation point or worse yet, a period. I’m flattered that two different reactions resulted from the same question. But of course, I’m saddened that Faith was hurt by something she discovered in the work that I never imagined.

Barry, I think you’ll really enjoy and learn from a visit to Faith’s work at… http://www.redbubble.com/people/sundrip. Her mastery of color to explore mood and emotion is astonishing. And Faith, I’m certain that Barry’s sensitive approach to life’s meaning at… http://barrysphotoblog.blogspot.com/, will support and even expand much of your own lifeview. You two share more than a community of talent, but in addition I find a similarity of ideas and feeling in your works.

I’m glad you’ve met, but wish it’d been under different conditions. Art is ambiguous and we bring our own solutions to its ambiguities – solutions to an artist's common question which often draws us to such different conclusions.

Art without wonder is merely craft. Huh?