Racism is learned behavior. Like most White people in the United States, I was taught to be a racist. I was trained to believe that people who have a different color of skin than me are inferior to White people. I was enculturated to desire separatism from those who are slightly different from me. This separatism was demonstrated at home, in my neighborhood, in my school, in my church, in sports, and at my workplace. I was taught to use my White privilege by my parents, my extended family, my teachers, my preachers, my coaches, my administrators, my friends, my classmates, and even by the people who worked in the service industry, selling me food, toys, cars, and lodging.
This racist enculturation was often overt, with brutal language and television images of the club to the head. But it was also subtle sometimes, manifesting itself through discreet parental steering, humorous stories, tales of primitivism, romantic stories of exoticism, and media images that sold people from minority populations as inferior persons of color. Some forms of racism were taught through songs, jokes and complete omission of minority populations. Other forms of racism were taught through exaggerated images and sounds that emphasized the stereotypes associated with various people who were not considered White.
The artwork in this exhibit is all related to these concepts. It illustrates the various ways that racism was and is used to reinforce an agenda of White supremacy. Just about every part of our modern society has a racist component, from our home life to our schools, from sports to the arts, and from employment to consumerism. All people in the United States are touched by this racism. All people from minority populations are confronted by it on a daily basis.
Critical enlightenment theory allows us to push back the curtains and reveal the mechanisms that continue to create new generations of racism and White hegemony. This series of artworks will present many of the methods used to perpetuate systemic racism through enculturation.