Portraits In Black Speak Truth To White Adults And Children Of Color

Michele Obama presented these personal thoughts at the unveiling of her portrait by Amy Sherald;

“I’m also thinking about all the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who in years ahead will come to this place and they will look up, and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution.”

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Of course her words are true. It is profoundly important also that white America see these portraits hung in this great American institution. That we hear and find the extraordinary introspection within ourselves that the Obama’s inspired for America as a collective of human beings. They did, you know – model the virtuous act of introspection. Search for a statement made by either President or Mrs. Obama directed to this nation that did not include a vital look inward. You won’t be able to find one. Such altitudes of clarity are often lost to lowlands of privilege we white folks cannot recognize even within the dispensaries of all that milk and honey. White people as a body of citizens seldom if ever look inward collectively as to who America is – and more, what we might become.

The white-American-collective-social-consciousness is an extrospective view. It is an assembly of assertions rather than biding assessments tempered by recollections and pauses for self-examination. Ours are moth-balled insights in dire lack for our attention, as to who we are and where have been – what we have led – and least of all, what to do now.

This is America now. Whether it is present in our consciousness or not, the broadest view – the aerial view – the Blackest view – of our human landscape is and will increasingly become the height of contemporary American wisdom. It already is the fulcrum for a tipping point still teetering in the ambivalence of white-mindedness. White suffering is a phantom we try to wallow in as our objections reveal themselves to be mere holograms – substanceless and devoid of redemptive cause. It’s a shooting pain, blindingly white, but take comfort – it will ultimately pass, though for some it could deservedly linger. This is fact in our human condition, despite what we may be conditioned to believe. No amount of white denial will shoo this reality away.

White people are no longer the purveyors of societal wisdom, as so many hover to guard a withered dynasty. There is a newer and truer wisdom. One many of us are ready to embrace. Whether instruction for this wisdom comes from women of color, as they bear their burdens a second and third time trying to educate white feminists to the depths and reach of amassing intersectionality – or as men of color reflect what love of country actually looks like – where the preservation of human dignity is not encapsulated in a recruitment poster or the waving of a flag emblematic only of the cost of conquest, incognizant of the blood of the conquered. His is offered to us gently and on one knee. Still though, in our fragility it remains too unthinkable to bear. It is here however – make no mistake of self-deception. It is calling, and it beckons for open and wide celebration.

Swing low sweet chariot coming for to carry me home. It is time for supremacy to die – to rest among its many unmarked graves. Time to take down the homage to a lie we no longer have to live. We can either wither or enlighten, that’s entirely up to us. Perhaps Barack Obama said it best, and even prophetically as to the evolution and enlightenment of governing power. It is tucked away neatly in his summation of artist Kehinde Wiley’s angular view.

“But, what I was always struck by whenever I saw his portraits, was the degree to which they challenged our conventional views of power, wealth, privilege and the way that he would take extraordinary care and precision and vision in recognizing the beauty and the grace and the dignity of people who are so often invisible in our lives, and put them on a grand stage,” he said. “The people in our families, people who built this country, built this capital, served food, took out the garbage.

Thank you President & Mrs. Obama. Thank you to those who have long suffered for this moment in time. It is almost bigger than the presidency and the occupancy of a White House for eight years graced by the Obama’s. This vital historic landing is forever immortalized in these halls, and stands like a lighthouse illuminating the jagged coast of a transatlantic heritage rising to the glory of its own.

 

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The Simplicity Of Privilege

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I am stunned each time I learn that someone I know and admire does not believe or accept the existence of white privilege. Not men who lack empathy, intelligence or discernment skills – but brilliant men. One a doctor specializing in children- One, a life coach who teaches wellness, fitness, conservation, and modalities of healing and consciousness. Another, a friend and highly accomplished colleague. None of whom comprehend White Privilege within the world they see around them. And each of whom otherwise carry integrity and honesty worthy of modeling. How does this occur?

It is invariably white males who cannot see the privilege with which their lives have patently and unerringly endowed. Particularly those who have worked hard, or see evidence of poverty among white people – both of which become argument against having inherited any benefit in any form, above or by way of others. But mostly, it presents as though we can’t accept the accountability that exists in the admission that America’s opportunity-bearing wealth has been built upon the backs of people of color and the free labor their exploitation, servitude and enslavement bore.

What would we better resolve with our undue enrichment, by generational depletion of families and communities who have been denied the same opportunity for accumulation of wealth, self determination and education. Where do we place it, but in its own saving grace of denial. A right of denial, which is only afforded us through the very means of privilege being denied.

Why is this, and how is this possible – that otherwise compassionate men would choose not to learn our history and our responsibilities to it? I can tell you why and how. It is designed this way. Other than those who knowingly perpetuate privilege and false supremacy, there is another category. The category of ignorance. It is this simple.

Privilege depends upon your not being aware

Of the things that do not happen to you

Because of inherent access you are not denied

Illuminable Extrospection

Bruce Rolff

Humans experience energies much like other elements are perceived.  You do not see wind, you see the debris and particulate it conveys.  You do not see light, you see its reflection- the side that is not shadow.  You see fragments of spectrum as carbon variations reflect the reds, the yellows, the blues and the greens, and the vastness of beauty by their limitless combinations.  Still ….. this is merely a reflection.

That which you see in the physical, we tell you, is neither their infinite array nor their incomprehensible spectacle of glory.  As much as physical sight will allow, it is dulled to the infinite geometrics of that which is not merely reflection, and yet remains unseen.

You feel the warmth, but not the structures transporting light and energy, nor the speed or wakeless force which delivers its comfort and utility.  Neither do you see the envelope from within which humans comprehend a relationship to the universe relative to time- another composition of which only its reflection is perceived.  It is a concept only beginning to seep in, and contradict the idea that you are separate from anything else, or that confines perception to a sequence of passing moments, making time the reference to your existence, and eternity the illusion in your mind.

~ Image Artist Bruce Rolff ~