The Relational Phenomenon

“Oppression is a relational phenomenon.” – Dr. Joy

400 years is a long time. That is approximately sixteen generations. It is four centuries. The backbone of America functions off of this relational phenomenon. Wool pulls snuggly over the eyes of mainstream culture and the abundant white American population, who refuses to acknowledge this genocide and forced labor of black Americans.

Our history is taught through the eyes of white men…not just any men, but ones who invaded, ravaged and pillaged the beautiful American landscape and its people. This series, created during SWARM’s 2020 residency, is art about oppression.

Many white people who have inherited the title of “oppressor” reject this term.

They use defenses like, “but I didn’t do that-” or “I don’t want this system to exist!” or “I am colorblind” because four hundred years of oppression is heavy baggage to carry. The longer white people continue to have these reactions, avoiding to pick up the heavy baggage, the tighter it restrains BIPOC. The American system has forced a lot of baggage onto black and brown citizens. It is time that we relieve some of that baggage by doing intensive anti-racist work.

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