A Statement from the Artist
Stereotypes are reiterated in our culture on a daily basis by the Media in all forms, and it’s hard to deny that the source of your information has a lot to do with how you perceive the world around you. The media plays a heavy role in the propagation, perpetuation and continuation of stereotypes in our society.
My work deals with with the historical aspect of stereotypes perpetuated against black people: how did they come to be, what are they based on, and in what way is it harmful to black people in America? I put white males in black face or watermelon face acting out what people generally perceive to be stereotypes of black culture. I use white males because they are seen as figures of authority. By putting white males in black face or watermelon face I let the audience know that the piece is about perception and not reality, and it’s how the West perceives the Other.
Stereotypes are well ingrained into our Western culture, and are used almost instinctively in order to deal with our differences. Though, the byproduct of stereotypes is that they also create differences between people, and stereotyping establishes an arbitrary set of societal norms/rules that benefit the majority while it disenfranchises other groups of people. An example of this would be having a mullet. Having a mullet may be socially acceptable in your subculture, but is widely viewed as a stamp of ignorance and a red neck mentality on part of the person sporting the mullet. Therefore, not having a mullet makes you smart and having a mullet makes you ignorant, though hairstyle [scientifically] has nothing to do with levels of cognizance. My work challenges ideas about black people (Other) that once ago had scientific research qualifying them, and how these ideas or stereotypes have become a part of how we see each other whether consciously or unconsciously.