laralein1507 asked: So, as I actually signed up to tumblr to ask this, I really hope for an answer. First of all, I like your idea to research POC in European Art history. What I would like to know anyhow is if you are actually an art historian? This would be interesting to know, as I am sure I am not the only one to wonder where you study art history (or history of any kind) and never ever learn that there were indeed POC in pre-Enlightenment Europe? Best wishes and thank you for your answer in advance!
I receive a lot of messages that come off as not-so-veiled inquiries into what my “qualifications” are, i.e., whether or not I am “actually an art historian”, as you put it.
I’m a decorated scholar and I work in education, which I’ve talked about here many times before. (I like to use the word “decorated” because I did not previously realize that there are awards that have literal medals attached that one might literally wear around one’s neck, until it actually happened.)
I do not have the power to dictate policy, but I have reason to meticulously review curricula and am extremely familiar with the content chosen by professors for those curricula. Part of my job includes having to read a great deal of the books, articles, handout materials, syllabi, slides, videos, powerpoints, et cetera, that are chosen for all manner of classes.
If you think that total omission of text, images, or other materials dealing with people of color in just about any history class is some sort of exceptional occurrence, you’re flat out mistaken. If these materials are included at all, mockery and misinformation is common from the professors including that material.
I live in a country where, as I’ve said repeatedly, there is a great deal of financial and political pressure to legislate people of color out of history entirely. I’m not inventing some kind of conspiracy, I’m making commentary about laws that are being made as we speak. In 2010, History curricula in the US were drastically revised and legislated; Texas, where the textbooks basically “come from”, put a frighteningly conservative stamp on the educations standards, which will stay in place until 2020.
I see those books every day, and the cropping, the omission, the “sunny side of slavery"…all these things are included. This has happened! According to one of these groups heading the campaigns for revision:
The group called for textbook selection criteria to include: "No portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership."
This is literally “We don’t care what actually happened, the important thing is that white leadership is not criticized.” That is literally what this says. That is the state of education right now, as I am speaking to you.
People doing what I’m doing better hope they live in a State where what I’m teaching here is still legal. In answer to your question, “where can you study art and never learn about people of color in Europe?” the answer is : The United States.
I follow this blog that is basically just depictions of people of color (really just black people tbh) in medieval art and it’s probably my fav blog right now
Okay it’s seriously baffling and bizarre to me that people keep saying this, and it’s starting to anger me.
1. A LOT of people keep assuming that if I post an image of a person, I am saying that they are specifically Black and
2. That I only post Black people.
This is just really about Black Hypervisibility, and how a reasonable inclusion of Black people in a blog about people of color somehow translates in some people’s heads to “only Black people”. It’s extremely unsavory and probably needs to be unpacked by someone more qualified than I am, because this kind of dichotomous thought is so alien to me it’s genuinely difficult for me to comprehend.
This really hangs a lampshade on the cultural concept that is, “If something includes Black people, it is ONLY for/including Black people”. As if including depictions of Black people is so novel, so overwhelming, and such an anomaly that it utterly eradicates any other depictions or artists that my blog covers?
I’m genuinely shocked right now. Maybe I shouldn’t be.
But to make this clear: what I am seeing isn’t non-Black people of color being “erased”, what I am seeing is the one-drop rule being applied to a flipping BLOG.
This sheds some light on the misunderstanding of people who though that when I posted this I was trying to say that the “zombies” are Black.
Rarely have I had it quite so shoved in my face that SO many people’s entire concept of race turns on an axis of anti-Blackness, which I suppose goes to show that this post needs to be reread.