Car Match, 2017, stoneware
In developing ideas for tonight’s plates, I listened to several voices on race and privilege. Engaging the community and reading books are part of my process. But confronting my own stories is really the first step. Only until I excise my own biases and fears will I be able to recognize and call them out elsewhere. I have thoughts that make me angry. The kind that come from fear or ignorance. The kind that come from messages planted long ago. The kind that come from home. I don’t identify with these thoughts, and I want to purge my psyche of their divisive nature.
One such thought periodically comes to me on the road. Here we have a play on the childhood memory game of card matching, but this time, it's Car Matching. Do you see the pairs? I do. It’s because sometimes, when I see anyone other than a white person driving an expensive car, I am surprised. How did they afford that? Are they an athlete? This thought does not live ready on the tip of my tongue, but rather it lies dormant and then BOOM – there it is. It makes me angry. Such loaded assumptions. I don’t really believe this! But where do they come from? What part of my experience led me to think these things?
As children, we observe, and many lessons learned are not overtly taught. Just like matching pairs as a child, we grow up with memories on how to identify and stratify - to determine who belongs, and where they belong, setting them aside in piles, and moving on. The beauty is that our thoughts don’t necessarily match our beliefs, but unless we confess the cringeworthy, we risk suppressing it, and in my book, suppression leads to oppression. So, what are you willing to say out loud?