Savannah, GA Photographer
Some say it doesn't exist, some say it's what this country was founded on. Some still live with it in 2016. Racism. Why, in this day and time, would such hate be tolerated much less even be in existence?
I struggled with creating this piece. Not because I had trouble finding models, they were extremely eager to be included, but with the backlash that I fear will come from speaking out. Although I'm afraid that many will hate this image, I believe that the need for what it speaks is louder than my fears.
This country's Caucasian population was built by the Puritans who came to America to escape persecution. They escaped it but they maintained the practice. The suppression, control, segregation, and abuse. As ships brought in the immigrants they were divided into sections of the towns that were designated for that nationality such as "German Town", or "China Town", because they were not accepted or allowed to "mix in". They were different than the Puritans. That belief system was passed on, generation after generation after generation.
My ancestors were the original inhabitants of this beautiful country. They were originally called Indians but in an effort to be politically correct, they are now called Native Americans. Their language was different and their skin was darker. Spiritual belief was more earth based and rites of passage were considered savage in nature. The fact that they were semi nomadic and moved to different hunting grounds instead of having stability bothered the Puritans. The lack of monetary need or the ability to "own" land because it belonged to Mother Nature just did not compute. They were heathens. They were murdered because they were different. Rounded up like cattle and forced to walk hundreds of miles, while the young, old, and weak perished and were left along the trails. They were thrown onto reservations and deprived of the ability to hunt, practice their belief system, murdered, tortured, women raped, and their children ripped away only to be forbidden to speak their native language. A genocide so incredibly dense in the mass of bodies left behind, that it wiped out entire tribes.
Another festering wound under the red, white and blue is the atrocities of slavery. African Americans, another politically correct term, were treated as though they were beneath the very animals they helped take care of. They were whipped, beaten, starved, raped, hung, and drug, simply because their skin was black. Their spiritual beliefs were stripped from them because it was viewed as voodoo or evil. They feared the things that went bump in the night or even slightly angering their master. Finally, freedom was granted after the war and they found a country that was not welcoming. Their fight for life continued on and became segregation. Another battle won but the war continues to rage... for both races.
Granted, these are not the only two races to face persecution simply based on the color of their skin or the country live in. And, yes, it still continues today.
Hatred is taught. Racism is learned. I know a Latina child who is afraid of blacks for no other reason than she was taught that. I know a young African American child who fears whites because he was taught that. I also know people in these races whom are friends with people of other races. Being a racist isn't genetic, it's not something that is passed on. It's a factor of ignorance, a refusal to learn or accept. There should be no need for #blacklivesmatter or #whitelivesmatter in this technological age. We live in a time where history is not taught in our public schools but is easily and freely accessed on home computers and smart phones. We should not live in a time where our young black men are afraid to be pulled over by a white cop and they feel the need to run immediately because they are afraid of being shot. My native brothers and sisters should not be fighting to keep their lands pristine and free from oil that could spill from a pipeline that the rich gas companies want to bury. And greed should not be the reason for destruction of sacred burial grounds instead of respecting the history of their being.
Minorities have been suppressed, controlled, abused, and quieted for hundreds of years. Racism has existed and still exists.
Isn't it time for it to end?
Georgia Walters is a portrait photographer in the beautiful, historic city of Savannah, GA. She specializes in families, children, couples, and fine art. Contact Georgia today to schedule your session.
Thank you to Larry Burton, Lawrence McKenna (roll member Cherokee), Michael Ploski, Jett Baker, Travis Sawyer, Jaclyn Baker, and Creative Approach for helping me create my vision.