Musings on Art, Racism, and My Weight

Let’s begin with the most important issue: my weight.  I know you’ve all been wondering, “What is going on with DeAnne’s weight right now?” and I don’t blame you.  The truth is, if I’d known quarantine was going to last so long I would have paced myself a bit.  Instead, I gained ten pounds. But do not despair!  I lost the Covid-15.  Now I just need to lose the weight I put on before lockdown, which I like to call The Trump-20. 

I believe there are two things you are not allowed to decide for yourself if you are: an artist or a racist.

You can’t call yourself an artist just because you’re creating art.  Creating a painting, sculpture, or dance, is just that – creating.  Your finished product could be the greatest gift to mankind since the Mona Lisa or one step away from craft time at the YMCA, but you don’t get to decide if it is art.  Other people will decide.  Sorry.  Skill, study, practice, practice, practice… these things may get you closer to “good,” but the quality that elevates it to another level – to art – is elusive.  It’s elusive and not at all fair.  Some have it, some don’t.  You get my point? 

Same goes for racism. I have not met one single person who says they are racist.  Yet I know many people whose actions prove otherwise.  Don’t think you are racist?  Here’s a little self -test you can take just for fun.  Do you have a black friend but an All Lives Matter bumper sticker?  You are racist.  You run a charity for underprivileged minority children, but you think a wall between us and Mexico is a good idea?  You are racist.  You really love you some kung pao chicken and Bruce Lee, but you call it The China Virus?  You are racist. You always describe people as that very nice Mexican man or the lovely Asian woman?  You are racist.  Do you watch the storming of the Capitol by people with Confederate flags and anti-semitic T-shirts, but still support Donald Trump because of the “good things he’s done?”  You are most definitely racist.   Sorry.  It’s really difficult to grasp.  I know it is. We all think we’re nice and caring people, but other people will decide if we are racist or not, and they’ll decide based on our words and behavior.  The angrier at me you are right now, the greater the likelihood you are racist. You get my point?.

I have always known racism was a huge issue in this country, but I didn’t know it was THE problem in this country.  My apologies for being so fucking late to the party.  It is at the core of every single political issue.   

I’m not asking you to change what you believe (yet). I am asking you to acknowledge what you believe.  We can’t get better until we admit the problem.  If you are old and/or unable to change and grow, that’s fine but stay out of the way. Enjoy your narrow, limited life of fear and anger but keep your mouth shut.  For the rest of us white people, we can step up.  Admit our shortcomings, our lack of education and the fact we are racist every day with our thoughts and sometimes our actions-even if we don’t think we are. We need to quit being afraid of “not doing it right” and learn. White People, we need to change.  Nothing gets fixed in America until we fix this.  I could go on, but you get my point.

Michael Brown

I came across an article on Facebook about “all the police officers killed in the line of duty that no one makes a big deal about”.  I am assuming this is in response to the protests in Ferguson over the shooting death of Michael Brown and the “big deal” people are making about an officer killing of an unarmed man.   I also assume, perhaps erroniously, the poster of the article does not have a full grasp of the situation and is in fact insensative to the sometimes fatal racism people of color face in our country every day or they wouldn’t feel the need to bring that up right now.

First of all, yes people do talk about police killed in the line of duty, as they should.  It is tragic and horrifying when it happens and generally does make headline news.  My father was a police officer and he told me if you got the call, “officer down”  you dropped everything and went to the scene.  Everytime my father put on his uniform and stepped out our front door he put himself in harms way but he did so by choice.  There is assumed risk to being a police officer.  He knew it and he did it anyway.  That is one of the reasons police officers are heroic and that is also the reason any comparrison to Michael Brown’s shooting is irrelevant. My Mother worried every day my father might not come home but she never worried her children wouldn’t come home because of the color of their skin, their size, or the fact they were wearing a hoodie and someone thought they looked shifty while eating Skittles. It’s different.  For every Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin there are thousands of young black men and women killed either by gang violence or the police no one is making a “big deal” about. And sorry to break it to you dear poster and Fox news pundits it is about race.  I don’t have any answers as to how to solve the problems with racism our country faces but I do know we can’t even begin to fix it if we don’t admit it exists.

I hurt for Michael Brown’s mother and at the same time I think, “Thank God my son is white.” I don’t want to be in her shoes and the fact that I am white means I probably won’t be.  How is this not about race?

I am sorry this post isn’t full of my usual clever and hilarious turn of phrase but there is nothing funny about this. Perhaps my next post will deal with important issues like my weight and how those darn rats are eating my tomatoes but today I am saying a prayer for peace and tolerance and that is no joke.