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Fall 2020

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Reflections: Culture of Care and Face Coverings

Image: From alumna Momo Schafer's "Prejudice is a Disease" Project, photograph by Mel Taing '16 BFA Photography

The JET office is here to help our community and all of you engaged in this work to have greater capacity for learning and growth. 

This March, when it became clear that wearing face coverings would help protect ourselves and each other from the coronavirus, I worried about how the wearing of masks might heighten the implicit bias people of color already confront. Our Black community echoed this profound profound concern. Momo Schafer '16 BFA Glass also visualized this concern for the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders identified in her work, the "Prejudice is a Disease Project." 

Our collective work as a MassArt community is to confront these moments of implicit bias within ourselves. Ninety percent of anti-racist work is to notice, name, and try to process how to respond to this bias and move beyond it. 

Seen from a counseling and wellness perspective, bias may not be a mere thought. It might feel like a constriction in your belly and you may feel a range of emotions, such as sadness or anger. Rather than suppress or move away from this discomfort, I invite you to be challenged by it. 

Resources Include:

Faculty and Staff

  • Participate in MassArt’s Anti-Racism Dialogues: Affinity Groups that allow us to examine our distinctive identities and explore how to reduce harm to our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community. 

  • Identity Development: Engage in personal identity learning which is essential to understanding implicit bias, generation racial trauma and ways to move beyond it. Beverly Tatum's "Racial Identity Development" model is a good frame to deepen our learning.

  • For White Allies: Robin Diangelo’s book, White Fragility is essential. We can’t move together in this work until the White community more fully understands their positionality in society, and learns how to work together, to collaborate, in being anti-racist. 

  • For Non-Black POC (Asian, Arab, Latinx, Indigenous, Muiltiracial): View this guide to starting anti-racist conversations with friends and family. 
     
  • Black Folx: Audre Lorde reminds us: "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." View Resources for Black self-care. 
     
  • Health & Well-Being Resources and Benefits for State Employees:  Mass4You, Mindfulness, Meditation, Mental Health, Resiliency, and more. 

Students 

  • MassArt’s Counseling and Wellness Office can be a space to bring your curiosity about how race and other aspects of identity influence your development as an emerging artist. We can also help provide connections around campus to better support you in connecting with other folks - with shared identities to mitigate feelings of shame or deep isolation, loneliness and low self-esteem inevitably bound up in the impact white supremacy has on our bodies, emotions and minds. Contact counseling@massart.edu

  • Anti-Racism Dialogues: Affinity Groups coming this fall. Stay tuned for more infomation. 

Let’s have our commitment to eradicate racism resonate through our work and through our interactions.

Lyssa Palu-ay
Dean of Justice, Equity and Transformation (JET)