As a child, I wanted to take ballet. When my mom took me to the dance school, the teacher took one look at me and told me I was better suited for Jazz/Tap because my skin tone would not match the point shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jazz/Tap, but I never got a pair of point shoes and still regret this to this day.
This Summer, my weaving, You Are So Articulate, will be at the 2021 New Jersey Arts Annual: ReVision and Respond hosted on site and virtually at The Newark Museum of Art from June 15th until August 22, 2021.
In this weaving, each piece of yarn is representative of a conversation in 2020 where I was acknowledged for being able to express my thoughts and ideas. Being told I’m well-spoken is a back handed compliment and carries the connotation that, it is unusual for someone of my race to be intelligent or eloquent.
The completed weaving is displayed on a DYI loom, as if, it is still a work in progress because some version of this conversation, continues still, till this very day.
Microaggressions are defined as subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — everyday interactions or behaviors that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial messages or assumptions toward historically marginalized groups.
The difference between microaggressions and overt discrimination, is that people who commit microaggressions are often unaware they are doing these things – and if you point it out to them, they say, “That wasn’t my intention, you are being too sensitive.” Which is yet another microaggression.
I often have the experience of people touching my hair without asking first, which makes me feel like a merchandise on display. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been complimented for being “articulate.” Which presumes that black people are not usually capable of competent intellectual conversation.
The weight of these daily interactions underpins very real consequences… stress, anger, frustration, self-doubt and ultimately feelings of powerlessness and invisibility.
Created using a combination of free form weaving, knotting and wrapping techniques, I have frozen these moments with, zip ties, ribbon, yarn, paracord, cotton rope, beading and recycled fishing nets to create protective armor.