“Racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed.”Will Smith to Stephen Colbert, August 3, 2016 (https://youtu.be/xdCTNas_YwQ)
With much of the nation engaged in some form of physical distancing or isolation, many white people have had less to distract us from the national conversation about racism and white supremacy. After a bystander filmed a white police officer execute George Floyd over the course of nine minutes, much of white America has found it difficult to look away this time; nationwide protests and expressions of lament have ensured that we do not.
Our busy-ness interrupted by COVID-19 and bereft of many of our daily distractions, we have had little to shield us from the blunt realities of racism. Thus exposed, perhaps white America is awakening to not only racism’s knee on the necks of Black people but also to its death-grip on our very souls.
Could it be that we today are living into an era wherein our collective w h i t e n e s s yields its attention, suspends its disinterest, interrogates its privilege, shores up its fragility, eliminates its ignorance, and finally—once and for all—invests itself wholly in the lived experiences and realities of Black people? Could it be that we are emerging from our comatose states of indifference into a Great White Awakening heretofore unseen within the span of the American Experiment?
I believe we just may be.
Although it is far too soon to tell and will take decades to prove, this project seeks to understand what might be different this time and what might sustain the awakening rumbling through white America.
I look forward to what we discover together.
Part 1: White Noise
(June 13, 2020)
Part 2: Waking Up
June 19, 2020
(Photo by Yelizaveta Tomashevska)
Part 3: The White Gaze
Part 4: coming soon
Part 5: coming soon