Four days left in November, and writing (crafting, really) continues, mixed with some visual arts for a fundraiser for one of our local galleries.
My heart and mind continue to be challenged by the political layer of this life. Growing clarity: to resist oppression, we must resist dehumanization. Dehumanizing our “opposition” – those who we fear, disagree with, dislike – is the first and essential step toward oppression and violence.
I am a writer, so I notice how it begins with language. Words like: “Enemies.” “Criminals.” “Illegals.” “Aliens.” “Rioters.” “Paid protesters.” “Idiots.” We come up with dehumanizing slang and nicknames. Or simply: “Them.”
As soon as we recognize the essential, full humanity of another person, he or she ceases to be an object for oppression. Conversely, as soon as we start to strip humanity away, a person becomes a candidate for oppression.
As we rise to the occasions we are called to – protecting the vulnerable, protecting the Earth, spreading understanding, compassion, and love – our artistic imaginations will provide us with all the tools we need. We can show how those whom others seek to dehumanize are truly and fully human, worthy of respect.
I wanted to write this post to say “art humanizes, and that is one of the many reasons why art is so important in our times.” But I recalled too many examples of the opposite – art also holds the power to dehumanize. That’s why oppressive regimes strive to control it. (Watch out for those who intimidate or belittle artists and creators. Their focus on art speaks to its power.)
Resisting oppression means resisting oppressing – resisting dehumanization of anyone, anywhere, anytime.
I hope all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving found much to be grateful for – I know I did.
Two hand-decorated Christmas stockings I made for the Gallery One fundraiser.