Black Lives Matter
For immediate release
Fridman Gallery stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, the ongoing protests against police brutality, and the anti-racist reforms that are beginning to take shape throughout the country. But that stand is not nearly enough. It is also necessary to acknowledge and act on the fact that racism, and most of all anti-blackness, has permeated every form of human existence and has directly contributed to the well-being of white people in this country.
This is not just a historical fact, it is our lived reality: white neighborhoods receive disproportionately more funding for public schools; whites are not as likely to be arrested for the same minor offenses or sentenced to prison terms; whites find it easier to get jobs; whites are preferred by mortgage lenders; and yes, whites are much less likely to be brutalized or killed by police. The privilege of being born into whiteness confers enormous unjust advantages in many aspects of our lives at the direct expense of people of color, especially African-Americans.
As uncomfortable as this acknowledgement is to white folk, it is merely the first step in the hard work of dismantling society as we know it. Will the white protesters, commendably attending protest rallies, also be willing to pay higher taxes or sacrifice social services, so the funds can be reallocated to Black communities? Will the so-called liberals actually bring themselves to vote for progressive laws that would benefit minorities at higher rates? Will we require District Attorneys promptly expunge dismissed criminal charges? Will we give the Civilian Complaint Review Board the power to prosecute police officers? Can we give up our privilege, both as a matter of basic justice and for the long-term benefit of living in a more harmonious society?
As is the case in other sectors of society, the art world has addressed inequality superficially. Artists of color may have begun to see exhibition opportunities and some museums may have hired Black curators. However, the power structures have barely changed – it is harder for collectors of color to get equal access to galleries’ “star” artists; virtually all gallery owners are white; minorities are severely underrepresented on institutional boards. We enjoy and deal in black culture from the privileged position of having been born into whiteness. Will we open our gallery to takeovers by black and brown curators and artist collectives?
Some concrete steps that can be taken today:
Defund the police: https://blacklivesmatter.com/defundthepolice/
Equality for Flatbush: http://www.equalityforflatbush.org/
Take Back the Bronx: https://www.instagram.com/takebackthebronx/
Justice Committee: https://www.justicecommittee.org/