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Troy

White Artist Fights Racism

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This was shared with me on Twitter today

 

You know artists have always been an important part of the struggle. 

This image below was also part of the tweet.  I think the analogy is valid.

artist-fight-racism.jpg.fc9bd8ad4bf22414

 

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I'm always big on the idea that art changes things. I also feel that when the art begins to reflect the reality that things get accomplished at a faster rate than just through the action of the people. I even had this argument with someone on the board here before about action being created from art and vice versa. I hate to use the word unfortunately because a white guy is going to be propelled, because it's not unfortunate, it's just the way things are that a White guy will get the press when there are countless Black artists creating content that will never be seen by the mainstream. Either way, I admire anyone willing to sacrifice the easy path in creativity and take on the issues. This looks intriguing.

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It was interesting that the artist led with “I'm a white artist...” I'm not sure what his intent was when he provided that information.  Was I supposed be more impressed? Was it done to preempt any negative reaction were I to discover his whiteness later?  

If I were white, I would he have used the same introduction?  Obviously he shares his art with Black people who fight racism, but does he share it with the white racist who actually need it to hear the message?  I did invite the artist to comment on his work here, perhaps those questions would be answered.

I chose to use, Michael D’Antouno’s tactic to introduce his work here. In today's racist culture, perhaps it is salacious enough to attract attention to his message

In any event the art speaks for itself.  

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Guest Michael D'Antuono

Hi Troy.

Thank you for posting. I brought attention to my whiteness for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it might carry a little more weight with the white community (to whom the message is primarily directed to) if the wrong is exposed by someone who is not a victim of the injustice. The black community knows all too well about the injustices put upon them, but I hope there is some comfort in knowing that there are white people willing to devote their energies towards trying to correct the problem. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to declare my race. But then again, in a perfect world, racism wouldn't be an issue.

 

Kind Regards,

Michael D'Antuono

www.ArtandResponse.com

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Thanks for taking the time to reply here Michael.  

I had not considered the possibility that the message introduced that way would carry more weight with other white folks.

Still, I think introducing your art with your race is unnecessary.  We know there are righteous white folks; that goes without saying.  Your imagery is powerful and your race is incidental unless you chose to make it otherwise. 

 

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Very nice post bro Troy! I appreciate it. So often, morally conscious whites (and non-blacks) are lumped into the category of being racist. No room for individual thinking or belief. Negroes rail against whites for making sweeping generalizations about them yet they will not and do not hesitate for one second -to do it to other groups. It's sad and unacceptable. Anyhoo, big shout out to Mr. Michael D'Antuono for his outstanding socially conscious art work. He deserves much credit and respect for what he has chosen to do. I have always admired artists who use their talents to articulate hot issues and take on political/social injustices.

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Didn't somebody famous once say "all art is political"?  Hummm.  I  would prefer to know the race of an artist who uses his craft to make a statement about racism because - race matters. 

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"Race" is such a problematic term.  White men make up a term solely for the purpose of subjugating a group of people, and despite the fact that we know it has no basis in science.  We are sadly saddled with the term and forced to reconcile in ways that make little sense.

Cynique, why does the artist's so called race make a difference?  How does his race help you. What additional information does his race provide, how it help you appreciate his art?  I'm not trying to judge how you perceive the art, I just want to better understand it.

 

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The "white" race is an artificial concept, but the Caucasian stock has scientific basis.  After all, people of the Negroid stock and the Caucasian one have different traits, most prominently,  skin color and hair texture and to a lesser degree, facial features and body types.  In America all the ethnic subdivisions of the Caucasian stock eventually fell under the "white" umbrella for economic and social reasons and this distinction has become inured in their attitude.  

I personally feel that a white artist and a black one bring different perspectives to racism and if I know what race an artist is, then this supplies me with a little more information when judging their work. This would also apply to an Asian artist.  It would further be the same with feminism; I would like to know the sex of an artist who decides to express his or her sentiments about this subject in art.  Of course my preference takes away spontaneity but it also adds a dimension of nuance.,.

 I can, however, see why others wouldn't care about the race or sex of an artist in the above circumstances.

 

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Cynique, again "Caucasian stock" and white race are both artificial constructs.  These are not technical terms and have no basis in science.  I understand that the culture uses the terms as if they are based in science, and it is hard to break old habits. But we are all human regardless of the way we look.

If you use the way someone looks to classify them as a somehow different type of human, you will always be wrong. If we make assumptions about a person's life experience based upon the way they look, we will definitely make some false assumptions as well.

So I have no idea what this artist brings to the table, based solely on the color of his skin.  He may have grown up the adopted child of Black parents and raised in the 'hood.  Which would give him a completely different sensibility than a trust fund kid, generations deep in wealth accumulated based upon the labor of enslaved Africans.  

Racism is a human issue which must be addressed by humans.  Boxing people into an arbitrary categories to "judge" their work in this fight unnecessary--even if the artist himself thinks it is.  I submit making the race of those fighting against racism an issue weakens the impact; again, because it is a human fight.  

I choose to judge the artist on his work not his race.  Of course know full well there are those that would ignore his work BECAUSE he is white; this is counterproductive.

Now I'm not saying that the so called race of this artist is uninteresting.  Indeed it might be fascinating to know his background and what motivated him to join the struggle.  
 

 

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We have to agree to disagree, Troy. We all look the same on the inside but we vary differently in the way we look on the outside, and depending on the the societal environment, how we look does make a difference in how we behave. I believe the science of Anthropology deals with this.  You are the captive of ideology, believing in the way you want things to be, as opposed to how they are.   IMO,  knowing the race of the person whose work represents his interpretation of racism makes the whole experience multi-faceted.  The idea that we are a cookie-cutter species stunts possibilities.  I think our differences are what make life interesting.  

 

 

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That is fine Cynique we can disagree.  I'm not naive enough to believe that the way I look does not inform how I'm treated in this culture--I'm a Black man in American you KNOW I get it.

I guess what I'm trying hard to do is not judge people by their looks but by their actions, you know, not the "...color of their skin but by the content of the character..."

If I could wave a magic wand, I would get the government our of the business of tracking people by "race." Lord knows how much money we would save, but the real benefit is that we can then begin focusing on how people are treated without the confusion of race.  Because at the end of the day, race is a diversionary tactic; our the problems all stem from class.

 

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