Race will never be the easy topic to broach. Be it an after-hours networking event, a girls night out, or even nail shop banter over manis and pedis, the fly on the wall or just a casual eavesdropper might happen upon wildly diverse subject matter. But race will seldom be one of them. So why is that? I think it’s because many of us find ourselves awfully uncomfortable with the conversation.
Rory Uphold may or may not want to be described as brave, but I’m choosing to do just that. Rory has been one of my best friends since I was five years old and this short, Traction, is just the latest in the string of things I’m so very proud of her for presenting.
It was important for me to write this blog for several reasons, some of which will be revealed in subsequent blogs. Rory did something that I previously felt was not only uncomfortable, but almost unmanageable. She took on the issue of race from a unique perspective. She was able to bring insight and honesty to an issue that, by ancestry alone, is notably foreign to the group to which she belongs. Rory is somewhat of a fish out of water – a blonde white woman bringing to the table blatant discussions about something that disproportionately affects her racial group. I don’t think any of us could dispute the riskiness of a feat like this one. She isn’t casually throwing around racial and societal ideals; she’s questioning them in a way that challenges her cohorts to examine their own biases.
Traction isn’t just a suggestive think piece; it accosts the viewer without the sometimes more emotionally arresting images thrown at us by news outlets and Facebook shock value postings. It isn’t a dead body in the street or an unwarranted gun battle between authority and civilian. Rather, it takes aim at the issue beneath the issue, the Russian nesting doll of shorts, if you will. Rory wants the viewer to understand that as “awake” and “enlightened” as you perceive yourself to be, none of us are above the problem. It’s not just personal; it’s systematic. It’s ingrained. Sometimes it’s so subtle, it’s almost invisible. Until it’s not. She’s found a way to confront racism in a manner that doesn’t just ask you to get uncomfortable; it demands it.
I, like Rory, share a unique view of race and the way it shapes how we relate to one another, thanks to my background and upbringing. I’ve found myself a bit reluctant to share my thoughts on all of it in the past, but as life would have it, growth is inevitable. I welcome you to get to know Breegan Jane a little better. More to come!