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We Are not Trayvon Martin

We Are not Trayvon Martin

Dear Community,

While this virtual space is dedicated to my research and writing on new media as well as the Bay Area arts community, I felt compelled to share a tumblr that has been circulating on the Internet. Under the current social and political circumstances (let’s not forget the womyns body being a huge issue at the moment as well), this past weekend has been extremely traumatizing for all people. It doesn’t matter what ethnicity, religion, culture, or sub-culture you identify with, our world is changing in ways I was hoping it would not. Processing the Zimmerman verdict has been difficult. There have been many horrendous things posted on the Internet. I forget how cruel virtual space can be and how eye opening it is that our country thinks about race, gender, and identity in ways that are destructive and unhealthy (I’m basing this on the media and comments I read on news postings, articles, and blog posts). I’m incensed by the lack of sensitivity and the way people conduct themselves in virtual spaces, specifically social media. It’s an extremely tense time for all and let’s not forget about the story of Marissa Alexander who has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing warning shots (NOT killing anyone) and these shots were fired to ward off her abuser. I’m trying to process everything that is happening because being a womyn of color downright frightens me.

Yet there is hope. In reading some of the posts that have been submitted to the “We Are not Trayvon Martin” tumblr, I believe this is one of the ways to connect to one another. Some of these posts had me pondering how can we, as a society and culture, evolve to a higher level of consciousness. For a long time, I was convinced that it could be done through the arts. I still hold on to this belief but I know it needs to be done through story telling and narrative. This project is a wonderful way to help facilitate and bridge gaps in understanding each other. I know this is an extremely emotionally charged post (and I am militantly opposed to the structures that hold oppressed people down when it is the law and the system that should protect us). But I wanted to share and invite people willing to engage in telling their own stories. I’m definitely here to read and “listen.”

Love and Light,

Dorothy

By Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, race and technology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She is a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society.

Her writing appears in art21, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, Ars Technica, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective and serves as the program manager for the Processing Foundation.

4 replies on “We Are not Trayvon Martin”

It appears that “Trayvonning” has become a thing, but IMO the meme is a disgusting one in which an individual can become part of a group of bullies. It is not surprising to me that it became acceptable participate in something so bad if there’s a whole group of people making it acceptable.

What do we call trolls and bullies who discriminate collectively, and what do we call it when the target is someone who doesn’t deserve it but is in the end a dead person? While we can tell that the perps have participated in bullying behavior, it is more surprising that people can also collectively feel hurt or targeted by witnessing others target a dead person who was also a contemporary.

Teri, great points and wonderful question you pose. Overall, I understand trolling is the rough and dark part of the digital terrain. Stepping in the open Internet is both a risk and reward for the highly connected and globalized world we’re in. I think of data viz and computationally based artworks (such as Murmur Study) that can help facilitate this type of discussion because we can see how our neuroses actually manifests in real life. I’m convinced that the majority of people engaging in trolling and/or inappropriate behavior online are not the same people they are in real life (IRL). But we can never know for sure.

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