Sunday, February 23, 2014

Caricatures Count Too and Audre Lorde

Institutional rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which neeeds outsiders as surplus people. 
   As members of such an economy, we have all been programmmed to respond to the human differences between us with fear and loathing and to handle that difference in one of three ways: ignore it, and if that is not possible, copy it if we think iti is dominant, or destroy it if we think it is subordinate.
    But we have no patterns for relating across our human differences as equals.  As a result, those differences have been misnamed and misused in the service of separation and confusion.  

Sister Outsider (1984)

Instead of trying to paint, I decided to do this sketch.  A caricature of Obama.
I was inspired by the artist Jason Seiler, who is pretty much OFF THE CHARTS with his illustrations.  I'm hoping this will kickstart my productivity.    As for the quote above,  I've been reading Race Matters by Cornell West.  The above quote was used in the book.  This stood out for me because I agree that differences in people are often misnamed and misused in the service of separation and confusion.   I have heard people refer to the president (still) as a Muslim because of his name.  (And as if being a Muslim connects one with terrorism).  Regardless of what one thinks about the presidents ideas and policies, it is fundamentally wrong to judge someone in such a simplistic and stereotypical way. 

Obama sketch
I shamefully admit that I haven't read AUDRE LORDE's book, or for that matter any of her poetry other than what I was able to google recently.  All I know is that she is a Black Lesbian Feminist, so that is enough for me to disregard everything about her.  Wow this separation and confusion stuff really works.  (BTW, that was sarcasm for anyone not hearing it through the print)
Here's another interesting quote.

“Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches


  1. Hi Kevin,
    Wow! What a buzz kill. Here I was all geared up to be amazed at your caricature and maybe enjoy a little light reading about your golf game and BLAM! Education! Okay, enough of my sarcasm. I enjoy learning something every day and you certainly provided the material today. I don't see how any majority, (barely?) light-skinned, educated person could disagree with MS Lorde's words, but then, "educated" severely restricts the numbers of that group.
    On a lighter note...I rounded-out my golf bag yesterday, adding a Ping 60-degree sand wedge and a Callaway 3-wood and today, visited the range to try them out. :)) Nothing like living in Paradise to keep you out of the library! In fact, I'm surprised anyone here ever learns to read and write! Just too much outdoor fun stuff to do. It's almost like living on a different planet--with no communication with the home world. As much as I've always been engaged with the world, I find myself slipping into the habits of retired, pleasure-seeking folks, worried more about hitting a golf ball than lack of salt for frozen roads, water for California or a Ukrainian revolution. It all seems so far removed from this little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Sad, I know, but maybe it comes with the realization that young people look at us as dinosaurs (which we are!) and it's time to get out of their way and relax.
    I could keep on blabbing, Kevin, but sunset is less than an hour away and I've got to try to decide what tropical beverage to enjoy with the show. Great drawing!
    Stay well,

    1. Gary,
      I owe my oldest daughter Grace for giving me 2 great reads for Christmas. I start every morning by reading a few pages, and this has helped re-ignite that part of my brain that isn't always called upon. Sometimes I wonder what it was like to live in the times when people were almost completely cut off from the outside world. There were far more negatives than positives, I'm sure. But sometimes when you feel overwhelmed with all the bad things going on in the world, it's nice to leave it behind and relax.

  2. Love the caricature. Love the post. What angers me is the number of rich, white, heterosexual males who try to eradicate anything different. We sure do have our share in Kentucky politics. Now I'm going to have to dig me up some Audre Lourde and see what else she had to say. I don't remember reading her poetry in high school but the name rang a bell. Thanks for the inspiration today to you and to Grace. And now Gary brings up the idea of ageism - and isn't that just another way to make a portion of the population redundant and without merit?

    1. Yes, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I don't remember her from High School either. I went to parochial school, and I seriously doubt they covered feminist poets back then. Although an old friend is an anthropologist with major interest in womens studies and he would be lambasting me right now if he knew that I was publicly admitting my woeful lack of knowlege in this case. Or...he might just lend me one of her books, and pat me on the head. By the way, I haven't seen Lawrence in years. Last I heard he was working for the Red Cross in Papua, New Guinea. I really doubt he cares much about this little blog.