after work today Tania (my good friend) and I met at the Ferry Building and as soon as I was finished buying two quarter pounds of cheese and salted crackers at Cowgirl and blackberry honey at the honey stand, we took a walk along the Embarcadero.
We had planned to use the dinner hour to, instead of eating like we are used to, think aloud our ideas for a video project we wanted to work on together. We started with no prompt. It just had to be something we were both passionate about.
Racism in the U.S. came up first, and ended up being the only one we talked through in depth. We explored many of its nuances, sharing our own and our parents' experiences of discrimination, and theorizing and imagining others.
The conversation started with questions like:
Why are there so many stories of white males? and so few of any one else? How can this change -- What needs to be done first? Do we need $$$ and might to get there?
It evolved into questions like:
Are stereotypes necessary for survival? Why does a white person think it's OK to say "You're not like other Asian girls, you're so outgoing and cool!!" Why do black people (seem to) hate Asians? Does a latino grandmother need to learn English?* (simplifying here)
and ended with questions like:
How do we tell this story without forcing it down people's throats? without being too obvious?
We talked as we walked back and forth along the Embarcadero, evening runners jogging past, lines out the Exploratorium, tourists on peddle bike rides, and decided we are going to keep it simple, constrained so that it's manageable. And for our first project together, on a topic as crazy huge as RaCisM, I think that's the way to go.
We are going to ask the people of San Francisco:
Have you ever been approached -- unprovoked -- while walking on the street, by a stranger with WORDS that were aggressive, discriminatory and all around negative? What was said?
We welcome your response.