Working through Oppression: Language as a Tool

July 19, 2018 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

 

20150704_083238 (2)

Vintage postcard features formerly enslaved woman standing at the New Orleans site where enslavers sold her. (Collection of author.)

Slaves. Fugitives. Runaways. Slave mistress.
Masters. Slave owners. Slave holders. Slave traders. Overseers. Plantations …

 

Our books, learning, teaching and imagination are steeped in limited frameworks. These terms reinforce the culture of dehumanization. Yet they often remain central and unchallenged forces in our lexicon.

Recently I followed a scholarly discussion via Twitter that highlights the trouble of this convention. Several historians reflected on their processes for finding words that better contextualize the truth of slavery. They also mentioned resistance they’ve encountered from editors who find their alternate expressions cumbersome.

On several occasions I’ve experienced opposition when I didn’t generalize oppression. The intransgience of some academics, museum professionals, and publishers can trip up, or even repel, those who are just entering these fields.  It is disheartening. However, it is not surprising. Ideologies of white supremacy and colonialism are foundational in these domains. Fortunately, some scholars, curators, educators, artists, students, designers, and others continue pushing at oppressive frameworks. We need to know who they are, how they work, and what they’ve created. We need to imagine what can we build together.

I’ve archived my favorite moments from the online discussion on Wakelet – The Afterlife of Slavery: Language & Ethics.”

 

 

 

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Art.

Your neutral is not our neutral What Many “Diversity in Museums” Articles Ignore: Structural Racism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


artstuffmatters

Artstuffmatters focuses on public culture in the arts- public art, photography, landscapes, museums, and more.

Search by Date

July 2018
S M T W T F S
« Feb   Aug »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Tweets on ArtStuff

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,883 other followers

Flickr Photos


%d bloggers like this: