The “Tip of the Iceberg”

The “Tip of the Iceberg”

This beautiful sculpture is premised on my memoir ‘Understanding and Combating Racism: My Path from Oblivious American to Evolving Activist’ Sculpture creation is premised on my memoir ‘Understanding and Combating Racism: My Path from Oblivious American to Evolving Activist’.

The sculpture was created by Susan Begy, a Rochester-based interdisciplinary artist, as part of her 2022 ‘Wishbones Project’.  She describes ‘Wishbones’ as a collaborative community sculpture project seeking to bridge isolation and forge new connections.

In her call for submissions, she requested a short story about a worry, a hope, a concern. and some anxiety. Reflecting on the narratives submitted, Begy then carved a small totem out of alabaster to give that story shape, meaning, and structure.

The following is what I submitted to her based on my memoir:

“Oh, for a country and world where white obliviousness, indifference, and white supremacy influences regarding racism begins to change in meaningful and enduring ways. This is my passionate longing, dream, and mission as a white person especially for my children, grandchildren, and those of their and future generations.

For well over seven centuries, Native Americans and Blacks have had to endure the violence and oppression of American white culture including, most unfortunately, Christianity as a willing partner and accomplice. The keys to a breakthrough include fostering interracial relationships building to authentically understand the “others” in our midst; and secondly, teaching the true history about the roots of our racial past which continues to torment Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) today.

Systemic Racism must be stopped in its’ tracks at all levels including individual, inter-relational, cultural, institutional, and structural. Whites must move from their persistent frozenness and excuses such as through a common question I get frequently: “But what can one person do?”. I challenge this excuse-oriented question with the simple statement and a reflection of my personal journey: “Here is What ONE Person Can Do!” given, courage, the will, true intentionality, and most importantly love.”

Begy then created this sculpture with the theme of “reflecting a wish for courage to build better relationships in the world”. She also described its relatively small size as representing just a tiny, fragile slice, and the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’ of the well-disguised problem of racism in this country. Susan also told me that using alabaster in all Its stark whiteness inspired her imagination in creating an interpretation and portrayal of the white robes that have so haunted and terrorized Blacks, Jews, Catholics, and others for well over the past century.

I believe she has masterfully done all of that and I am grateful for her work.

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