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The New York Times Interviews Claudia Rankine

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Ms. Rankine said that “part of documenting the micro-aggressions is to understand where the bigger, scandalous aggressions come from.” So much racism is unconscious and springs from imagined fears, she said. “It has to do with who gets pulled over, who gets locked up. You have to look not directly, but indirectly.”

— from “A Poetry Personal and Political,” in The New York Times, 11/28/2014

Blue and Black: A Zine on Police Violence

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Blue and Black: Stories of Police Violence is a zine created by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams and supported by Project NIA, which aims to end juvenile incarceration. It offers real-life examples of racial profiling, police discrimination based on sexual orientation, and why immigrants will almost never report domestic violence. To see the full zine, which can be downloaded for free, click HERE.

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Two Women at the Whitney Biennial

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Maya Mackrandilal Sheath IV (2014)

1. Diversity is not the inclusion of those not from New York. Diversity isn’t more white women. Diversity isn’t safe art. Diversity isn’t black bodies put on display by white artists.

2. You don’t get to appropriate diversity as a buzzword for your PR work. Besides, we know how to count:

—There is one black female artist (we refuse to count your fictional black female artist)

—You put the two Puerto Ricans in the basement …

—HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN is a collective of 38 mostly black & queer artists but barely gets treated as one artist. How amazing would it be if their 38 people counted as 38 people at the Whitney, which would accord them 40% of the museum’s space? They have been allotted an “evolving” temporary screening slot. They are the largest collective in the Biennial yet their real estate is virtually nonexistent.

from “The Whitney Biennial for Angry Women,” by Eunsong Kim and Maya Isabella Mackrandilal, in The New Inquiry (4/4/2014)

The BFAMFAPhD Project

The BFAMFAPhD project describes its concerns as the “impact of debt, rent, and precarity on the lives of creative people,” and hope that this project will “make media and connect viewers to existing organizing work.” They made a short video that explains its findings:

  The essential question to their study is: Who goes to art school, and who makes a living as an artist? Continue reading

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Cathy Park Hong on Delusions of Whiteness in Avant-Garde Poetry

“I would also argue that the institutions of both mainstream and avant-garde poetry accept poets of color based on how they address race. Mainstream poetry is rather pernicious in awarding quietist minority poets who assuage quasi-white liberal guilt rather than challenge it. They prefer their poets to praise rather than excoriate, to write sanitized, easily understood personal lyrics on family and ancestry rather than make sweeping institutional critiques. But the avant-gardists prefer their poets of color to be quietest as well, paying attention to poems where race—through subject and form—is incidental, preferably invisible, or at the very least, buried.”

— Cathy Park Hong, “Delusions of Whiteness in the Avant-Garde,” in Lana Turner, issue 7

Because White Men Can’t Police Their Imaginations…

Part One in a Series. The following writing prompts were produced by student poets from Williams College, in a workshop co-led by Beth Loffreda and Claudia Rankine. Two prompts were given and then students were asked to give each other prompts.

Because white man cant police

Because white men can’t police their imagination—

—You get a lot of repetitive literature on race by white people.

—We all interpreted this sentence differently.

—others have to police theirs.

—certain officers are bad-tempered.

—Brazilians speak Portuguese.

—the gap gets bigger.

—I feel most female.

—I walk down the street a little faster.

—everyone is a suspect.

Continue reading

I Use My Privilege To…

Part Two in a Series. The following writing prompts were produced by student poets from Williams College, in a workshop co-led by Beth Loffreda and Claudia Rankine. Two prompts were given and then students were asked to give each other prompts.

I use my privilege

I use my privilege to…

—do lots of things.

—get in car accidents.

—be insured.

—take the time to think about.

—study Literary theory (my) privilege.

—get away with speeding tickets.

—solve world hunger—>instagramming.

—the gays get gay marriage.

—not realize its realizing.

—get a job.

—choose when to be visible.

—only speak for myself.