Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Color VERSUS Rural, Color AND Rural

In an essay on the Community Arts Network website entitled "The Need for a Community Arts University Without Walls," Marta Voreno Vega, the founder and president of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, has this to say:
It is important to recognize that the community arts movement is embedded in the movement of civil and social justice. It is the creative arm of the movement of civil and human rights. Community art is therefore the bearer of history, legacy, tradition and voice for cultural equity social justice and human rights. As we look at the conditions of communities of color and poor white communities across the nation, the reality is that our communities are still marginalized and under-resourced. Inequity continues to stifle the growth and achievements of young people and adults from communities of color and rural white communities. While there has been progress there is much to be done. [italics mine]
She goes on:
the reality is that our nation is still in denial of the systemic inequalities and social injustices that frame the major, historically endowed institutions of our society that generally perpetuate “less than” opportunities for people of color and poor rural communities. These institutions, while sustaining and concentrating their power due to privilege and preferential treatment, are also those that determine standards of excellence and what gets included and excluded as valuable in our society. [italics mine]
"Less than" opportunities. My post on who attends the NCTC, on how class affects college attendance and, as a result, affects who is able to succeed in a theatrical career -- all of these are about "less than" opportunities afforded the poor, the rural, the people of color.

The issues surrounding racial diversity are paralleled in the issues surrounding geographical diversity. They are not the same thing, but they have similar power structures, similar causes, similar means of enforcement. There should not be a sense of competition between communities of color and rural communities. That there are fears about money going away from communities of color to rural communities is evidence that the elite power structure is still determining the terms of the discussion. Race, class, and geography all intersect at the same bloody crossing.

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