Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Let's Talk At Lunch"

                   Can We Bridge the Racial Divide?

Yesterday I participated in a discussion run and sponsored by the Evanston YWCA ( at the Skokie Library entitled “Let’s Talk At Lunch.” The purpose of the discussion was to share our feelings about race relations and thus arrive at a better understanding among us. Whenever I attend any discussion on race, my instinctive reaction is usually, “Really? We did this in the ‘60’s. Why haven’t we solved it yet?” I’ve learned to keep that thought to myself, however, as I’m reminded almost daily how far America still has to travel to achieve a society free of racism. That said, I commend the YWCA for facilitating these discussions around town. Any efforts made to end racism are a step in the right direction.

One stark reminder of America’s endemic racism that we had recently is the current exhibit -30 Americans -at the Cincinnati Art Museum (

Cincinnati Art Museum
The exhibit is running through August 28th and is well worth seeing. The exhibit showcases the artwork of 30 African-American artists. What stands out at first glance is the diversity of their work. None of the artists’ works were in the same style as any other, reminding people viewing the exhibit that each artist and in fact, each African-American is an individual. The issue of stereotyping was treated by each artist in his or her own way. Other paintings were portraits and abstracts. 
Carrie Mae Weems on Stereotyping

Branded Head
When I thought we had seen the whole exhibit, we were directed to the last picture. As we walked into the, I looked and was speechless. In a bare room in which a circle of pointed Ku Klux Klan hats are sitting in a circle, another hangs from a noose reminiscent of lynchings. Once again, we’re reminded that the fight isn’t over. We left the exhibit breathless.

Duck, Duck, Noose

I’m sure this art exhibit was the catalyst for many discussions. If you need a to see something more light-hearted to decompress after seeing it, the Cincinnati Art Museum has many other exhibits, some permanent and some temporary. The museum is small compared to art museums in larger cities but it changes its exhibits frequently. Whenever we’re in Cincinnati, we visit the museum and always see something new there.

There’s always hope also that someday we will see a city or world without racism or other isms that artificially divide us. Until that day, it is good to see that efforts are being made to bring it about.  


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