Against White Supremacy

Preface

The weeks after Charlottesville have revealed a President sickeningly loyal to Nazism, racism, and white supremacy. Sympathies already understood as implicit in Trump’s candidacy and vital to his ascendancy to the highest office in the land have been laid bare many times over—most recently with the pardoning of convicted felon and proud racist Joe Arpaio. As artists, we understand that it is our responsibility to respond to and make sense of the cycles of hegemonic violence and oppression that construct our world. Across the country, individuals and communities have taken a stand against the cancer of hateful thought that our current political moment has made more visible. Here at 7×7 LA, we stand in solidarity with these actions against white supremacy, and present our own creative responses to this challenging time.

Whitework: Surrender This Story of Salt 

2017
cotton cloth, thread and quilt batting, salt, whitewashed poplar and hemlock
5′ x 5′ x 6′ 

The quilted inscription on the flag reads as follows: 

They say she became salt
preserved
forever in a backwards glance.
perhaps
she didn’t realize she was doing it
holding so tightly 
to all she thought she knew.

In this work’s title, the word “Whitework” functions both as reference to forms of white-on-white quilting and embroidery popular in the 18th century American colonies, as well as a call to action, for both myself and other white-identified people in this country to awaken from our historical amnesia and take responsibility for our actions and ancestries.

 

— Sonja Dahl

Blood and Soil

“Blut und Boden!”
they want to shout.
“Blut und Boden!” “Blut und Boden!”
But this is America
so they speak English.
“Blood and soil!”
they shout.
“Blood and soil!” “Blood and soil!”
Because this is America
So they don’t speak American.
Because from this soil
The blood of the Indigenous cries out to the Creator of the Universe
in American!
And from this soil
The blood of the slaves cries out to the Creator of the Universe
in African-American!
And from this soil
The blood of the farm workers cries out to the Creator of the Universe
in Spanish-American!
And from this soil
The blood of the railroad workers cries out to the Creator of the Universe
In Chinese-American!
“Blood and soil!”
Because this is America
So they don’t speak American.
Because this is America
So we don’t speak American.

 

— Henry Wudl

 

— Robert Wilhite

Vibrant.
Beautiful.

 

— Jenna Bao

A Stand of Olive Trees

 

— Carlotta Guerra

Equity

Bohème lace-front tulips in the yard,
and the fact that there is a yard
with its culled abundance––
green, green, slapdash dandelion,
upturned petticoats of crabgrass,

lien everywhere, though money
is imaginary, never more
than when you promise to pay
half the rest of your life of numbers
you hope will go on ticking

across a screen. Where I live
we still have water, so much
it won’t balance on the clouds’
high shelves, crashes over
our heads all fall all spring

and winter, folds us at the stem
so we die more often just
before the sun comes due.
At the title company, we sign
inch-thick contracts no one
understands and if we’re pale

as paper it’s likely we’ll find out
later the terms were good. The green
is not in on this, the forsythia breaks
forth uncalculating, a monstrosity
of yellow, generous to all in equal

measure, or perhaps to only itself,
some visiting wings. The hawthorne’s
swallowed rings tell a century
of sundowns while white protesters
shout whose streets our streets

through mouth bandanas, slow
logging trucks lugging whole trunks––
brittled, bygone––in trailers with open
ends of pincered steel. Money:
so imaginary it’s deathless.
Robbed, it static clings

each mistaken generation. Equals
bodies necromanced to debt.
Still, so many choose to believe history
is ancient history. We are experts
after all––this another way to miss
the forest for the trees.

 

— Emily Van Kley

Minotaur

 

— Baptiste Tavernier

Prisoner Dialog 2

From THOMAS JEFFERSON DREAMS OF SALLY HEMINGS, A Novel

The guard bangs her billy club against the bars of the prisoner’s cell. He is lying on his cot, the side of his head swollen—purple and red, capillary laced. She speaks.

—Morning! Rise and shine!

—…

—Don’t worry. I’m in a much better mood today.

—…

—What’s the matter? You look so glum.

—I don’t see any reason why I should talk to you.

—Well then, maybe you haven’t learned your lesson.

—What lesson?

—That you have no rights.

—It’s not in your power to deprive me of my rights.

—On the contrary. I can do absolutely anything I want to you.

—I won’t deny that you can treat me any way you want to, but that doesn’t mean you can deprive me of my rights. My rights are given by God, and exist independently of anything you do. You may make it impossible for me to enjoy my rights, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have them.

—Don’t get all academic on me.

—…

—If you can’t exercise your rights, then you don’t have them. End of story.

—…

—You idiot! You haven’t learned a fucking thing. You still don’t know that you’re a fucking piece of shit. A disgrace to humanity.

—Leave me alone.

—Do you know who I am? Do you?

—…

—Do you know who I am? I’m your judge, jury and executioner. And I am not going to let you get away with one fucking thing. You won’t be able to touch your prick or pick your nose without me seeing it. I’m going to catch you out on your every lie, your every evasion, your every attempt to escape your own conscience.

—Leave me alone, I said!

—Not a chance. I’m with you to the end.

—You’re a fucking lunatic! This is so fucking insane!

—Of course it’s insane! Justice is relentless. And monomaniacal. It has to be. I mean, do you think that once you commit an evil act it can ever be undone? Give me a fucking break!

The guard laughs. She speaks.

—You can do a thousand good deeds and make a thousand apologies, but the evil is still there. It never changes, and it never ends and you can never escape it. Justice too. Justice never ends; it is eternal, universal, and implacable. That’s the lesson I’m teaching you. I’m going to strip you of every shred of dignity and pride until you are so desperate you fall on your knees and beg forgiveness. And guess what? There will be no forgiveness. But you know that, don’t you? You always have. That’s why you trembled when you thought that God is just. And actually, that’s the beauty of all of this. You are condemned, not merely by your most evil acts, but by your finest words, those self-evident truths of yours that created a whole new world—a world that will never forgive you for your sins.

 

— Stephen O'Connor

Anti-Racist Monument by Takiyah Thompson

 

— Axel Wilhite

Against White Supremacy