#667: If You Build It

11 Aug

Presented by No Longer Empty, which has brought such gems as a creepy old bank vault in Queens, this exhibit was less dark and more cheerful overall.  Held in an under-construction building in Harlem that will soon be affordable housing, a child care center, and a children’s museum, the space highlighted the potential of what was coming without dwelling too much on what had passed.

Except for a part of the exhibit that showed Wanted posters, describing non-white men being wanted by the police for basically standing around.  This part was decidedly depressing, mostly because the posters did such a good job of explaining why these young men were stopped on the street (which was “no reason,” or “because they weren’t white”).  And I can’t help but draw the connection between the exhibit and the current events in Missouri.  I also can’t help but note that I will never know what that feels like.

However, coincidentally, I got a tiny taste of discrimination yesterday at brunch.  The wait staff sat several other tables after we were already sitting, gave the diners menus, poured them water, and brought them chips and salsa, before they even came to our table.  We then waited 10 more minutes to get water after asking for it, all while more tables continued to be given menus and drinks.  Logically, though I know the snub could have been a result of many possible things, it was hard not to assume it had something to do with the fact that we were the only white girls in the Washington Heights restaurant.

And do you know how frustrated and angry I got over those 20 minutes of waiting?  Just because we were being ignored and I couldn’t have a glass of water when I wanted it?  I can’t even begin to comprehend the anger that must come with being discriminated against in ways that actually matter, let alone life-and-death ways.

I’ll say it again–I’ll never know what that feels like.  But I know it saddens me to live in a world where some people do.

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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Art


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