On Racism: “Choosing your ethnicity”

Shalak

This planet is comprised of a collective of starving artists painting prejudiced portraits that hang hidden in family homes. Cheap but sturdy frames are forced around those to whom difference is a prison, painting them with preconceptions and adding them to crowded collections. These brushstrokes soothe worn out eyes but suffocate those trapped behind the chipped glass piling up in petty portfolios.

Mouths do not have slots for double A batteries so why the hell do tongues mimic low-grade labelmakers spitting out insignificant identifiers based on the prominence of pigmentations and the foreignness of fatherlands?

We are all just souls upon bleeding soles traversing the tough terrain only some of us are allowed to call home.

She is exhausted because her ancestors planted their aching feet near the equator rather than the North Pacific. The ink from the classifieds dyes her fingertips a deeper shade of dark because the last name on her resume reads “Latin” rather than “qualified”.

He cries at night because his classmates pick at his afro but never pick him to be on their teams at recess when they run across the field at the school where the confederate flag flies half-mast because its just another Wednesday.

Those sons are dead because he saw them walking down the street and their melanin levels matched that of his entitlement so he pulled his regulation firearm because apparently blackness is still synonymous with corruption despite the alleged 150 year anniversary of the Civil War.

Don’t you get it?

The ability to pronounce and be proud of one’s diversity is a privilege reserved for those who have the ability to choose when to show it.

We live in a world where “dare to be different” is a slogan splashed on the t-shirts and timelines of pre-teens everywhere yet we fail to admit that unless you are lucky enough to fall into the majority, you will be damned if you do.

You will be harassed if you do.

You will be killed if you do.

We are all just souls upon bleeding soles traversing the tough terrain only some of us are allowed to call home. We take one step at a time but walk in circles because the ones who hold the keys are the same ones who refuse to hang contemporary art because their frames cling to the same vintage pieces their parents displayed in their own living rooms.

We are blinded to sameness and seized by difference, never fully allowing the interweaving web of pure humanity to unite us all in the sweet solace of symbiosis.

So she stays sleepless, and he never stops hanging his head. Fox News mornings lead to daylong mourning by faraway strangers thanking God it’s not their own kin suffocating under soil and sun-shriveled forget-me-nots. But from within their palisades of privilege, they never stop to think about who brandishes the brush and who keeps the key.

We are all just souls upon bleeding soles traversing the tough terrain only some of us are allowed to call home.

Don’t you get it? Turn the key. Welcome home.

word by Hannah Chubb

“This piece is designed to be a wake-up call in the face of the racially-driven Charleston massacre, in addition to countless other hate crimes. It is a stripped down reminder that while difference is often glorified, it is a ball-and-chain for those who do not have the ability to hide their minority status.”

colour by Shalak Attack

“Shalak Attack is a Canadian-Chilean visual artist dedicated to painting, muralism, graffiti urban art, and canvases. Shalak  has manifested her artistic expression on urban walls across the world.  Shalak is a co-founder and member of the international art collectives “Essencia”, the “Bruxas”, and the “Clandestinos”. 

“Shalak also works with several other mixed media approaches such as tattoo art, jewelery, illustration, installation, sound, and video making. In the past ten years, she has participated in numerous artistic projects and exhibitions in Canada, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Palestine, Jordan, Isreal, France, Belgium, Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Senegal and recently in Sweden for the Artscape Mural Festival. 

Shalak shares her passion for freedom of expression, and has facilitated visual art workshops to youth of under-privileged communities and prisoners in various countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and in Africa.  Her artistic work and community art-reach is rooted in the social and cultural values she received from her family growing up across Canada.  Since then, her most impacting education has been learning from different communities around the world. Public walls has become her favourite place to paint, she uses graffiti as an art form to create accessibility to culture for diverse communities.” 

Author: Word and Colour

words inspired by colour wordandcolour.com

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