Invisibility

 

The races tend not to look at each other full frontally in the United States, certainly in large coastal cities.  Elsewhere, too.

Manhattan tends to be an exception.  As for many other aspects of American life.  So, of course, sites of public conflict or threat are another exception. And  small towns and villages too small for anyone to be invisible.

 

 

Njideka Akunyili Crosby 04 Bomb 137

I Refuse to Be Invisible, 2011, acrylic, charcoal, and xerox transfer on paper,  Njideka Akynyili Crosby, American born Nigeria 1983.

 

 

My own colleagues of long standing have passed by me without looking at me or greeting me.  The only thing they noted was the colour of my skin and my position relative to theirs on the pavement.

Some of my neighbours, likewise.  Except those who were not born in the United States.  They greet me. 

I am not speaking of friends.  Friendship, I suppose, has the exact same characteristics everywhere in the world.   

Thank goodness!

 

This is not to say that the races in north America do not see each other.  In a public place, everyone notes exactly where everyone is with special attention to race. 

 

Attentive human presence being the greatest of Sapiens’ gifts, the negative consequences of this seeing-not-looking can be imagined for those too young, too angry to know that this is not to be taken personally.  It speaks to a history not fully acknowledged in present conduct.

 

Sometimes I wear a burqa.  So enjoyable. Sensuous to be enveloped in that soft silkiness.  A grill over the eyes to see and not be seen: like a great and secret power.

But then, of course, the enjoyment is also because I don’t have to wear a burqa.

 Burqa April 2009-1

The proprietor of this blog in an Afghan burqa

 

There has been a change in the generations of the Millenials and Generation Z.  They both see and look and often greet. 

 

We gotta to move this conversation forward.  This is so like old…. as the north Americans like to say.  So shall it be.

 

 

 

 

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