LANDSCAPES OF RACIAL VIOLENCE

How do we move towards greater racial justice? Though many things are necessary for such a shift, one crucial step that the U.S. has actively avoided for centuries is an honest reckoning with our past, including genocide, slavery, and conquest. Instead, the U.S. is deeply invested in telling stories that erase any trace of racial violence. As a result, any “racial progress” is slow, tentative and precarious. We still with the past and our denial of its weight. As Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” I seek to understand the ballast of white supremacy through the landscape. How does the landscape obscure the racial violence of the past? To what extent does it reveal it? How can we use place and landscape as vehicles to engage with our past in a meaningful way? Can the landscape provide a path towards greater honesty and racial justice? Currently, I am working on a project entitled, Sangre en la Tierra (blood in the soil), which explores landscapes of foundational racial violence in Los Angeles County. I hope to expand the project to a national level soon.