Twins 8x72dpi

Robert Masla, Twins,
Rembrandt watercolor and oil on 16″ x 20″ Fredrix all media canvas paint board
It’s been a while since we have written or posted, (if you follow us on Instagram @TheCasaDeLosArtistas or my Facebook, then you saw a version of this post)… With all the craziness in the world, and particularly the recent events in the U.S., I was waiting to connect the appropriate words and image. Since I had been posting portraits, this painting I did a couple years ago, a watercolor and oil, “Twins”, done for my son-in-law, Gedezou, as a gift for his twin sisters’ birthday, (of her twin daughters), came to mind when I came across a post: a black woman had posted a photo of herself as a little girl with the statement:

“I used to be cute – when did I become dangerous”

I am a white male, 63 years old and like all white persons, my consciousness suffers from imbedded socialized systemic racism. It is not the hate, fear, division, prejudice, bullying, mis-information, lies and militarized violence expressed through overt racism like that which occupies and comes out of the Oval Office, it is more insidious, (and no less dangerous), as it effects us, often in ways we are unaware, (and in us I am speaking of all white people here). Racism & white privilege have permeated our culture & our consciousness from the beginning of our society, (and before). And for most of us it goes totally unnoticed, like a fish is unaware they are swimming in and “breathing” (polluted) water. We may deny it’s existence or our participation, (just like we can deny science – but facts speak for themselves and are independent of belief – for statistical proof, read this article put out by Ben & Jerrys on 7 facts about systemic racism: https://www.benjerry.com/whats-new/2016/systemic-racism-is-real), but it is a fact that systemic institutionalized and internalized racism exist in the U.S.. The corollary to this is, if we have not been working to dismantle it, first within ourselves, examining our consciousness, then in our interactions with others, and within our government and institutions, then, as the saying goes, if I’m not part of the solution, I’m part of the problem. But both denial and guilt are a part of systemic racism, preventing real change. Guilt serves no productivity. Fish do not purposely swim into polluted waters, (though lead by others). We need to clean up the water of our consciousness. For if we actually believe in the principles, (not actions), that this country was founded upon, Democracy, Justice, Equality & Freedom for All People and perhaps the even more important spiritual laws of Love and Compassion, we must act in solidarity to dismantle institutionalized racism. Right now we are in a very unique time, the world is smaller than it has been before – real news, in real time, comes though citizens cell phones. White individuals in society can either wake up and clean up, or “consciously” choose ignorance and go back to sleep.
For those of you that are interested in shining the light inward, Monica and I are in the process of reading a very powerful book on the topic;
“White Fragility – Why it’s so hard for White People to talk about racism”
by Robin Diangelo
Our daughter Aiyana put a document of resources together to help dismantling our racism. We have posted them here on our blog:

FOR WHITE FOLKS – some resources for unlearning racism & for involvement in racial justice as white people

(PLEASE SHARE WITH OTHER WHITE PEOPLE!)

Document Edited and Compiled by Aiyana Masla, May 2020

  • The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond: a national and international collective of multicultural organizers and educators who run powerful workshops, (ya’ll I was blessed to do their workshop in NYC this year for the first time and it was GREAT!) the most well known being their Undoing Racism workshop. Not sure what they’re up to during pandemic times -but they have many established resources and a lot of information. www.pisab.org    
  • Center for the study of white American culture  www.euroamerican.org : provides educational resources, opportunity for discussion and online trainings/ workshops on the multifaceted issues of whiteness & the importance of a multi cultural, racial justice awareness
  • Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley & Starr commonwealth GlassWing : (Offers free workshops & trainings in western MA.) On their website is free educational material; articles, definitions of terms, videos, a library of resources, links and book suggestions.
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): is a national organization created in response to #blacklivesmatter . SURJ is a white led organization for white folks to do the work on healing racism, that has accountability partnerships with national people of color led organizations. Each chapter is set up slightly differently, but info about each can be found online and each chapter has regular Open Meetings, Webinars and Mailing lists with actions and information. SURJ offers a space to build relationships, skills and political analysis to act for change as white people with other white people. It is a way to link w other white folks with a commitment to working out their role as white folks in a movement for racial justice. National SURJ has an email list serve, tele-conferences, webinars and online courses, etc.
  • Find an “accountabili-buddy” (tool from Southerners On New Ground): make an agreement and regular check in time w another white person who you specifically process race and whiteness with. You may also make unlearning racism goals with this person and hold each other accountable. At least a monthly check in recommended, so that you have a regular structure to do this necessary processing, work, and accountability checking. Having a container like this built into your schedule can help in being more respectful in your relationships with people of color and in multi-racial spaces (more able to be aware of what you are sharing and processing with People Of Color and what is not appropriate to share or process with P.O.C.). Having a racial justice accountability point person can lessen the damage or violence that white folks unintentionally cause by helping us process our feelings about race & see our blind spots in a context & relationship where other possibilities, behavior, outcomes and solutions can be brainstormed & considered with another white person as a collaborator. It also keeps us accountable to the work and mobilizes us forward in our involvement in healing structural racism, rather than getting stuck in being a part of it.
  •  AORTA: Anti Oppression Resource and Training Alliance, a worker owned cooperative who offers a variety of incredible workshops, trainings, and also does consulting nationally. They have a lot of resources and articles etc. on lots of topics involving social justice, collective liberation and healing from oppressive systems, and their material on white supremacy and unlearning racism is great. www.aorta.coop
  • Emptying the jug : (an exercise taught by Mellisa Michaels) This is a writing exercise helpful for processing a difficult situation, emotion or relationship. It can be useful when there isn’t another white person to process with, or if you prefer processing on your own: Write for 5-10 minuets on what makes you angry about the situation/person/experience. Write for 5-10 minuets on what makes you sad about it. Write for 5-10 minuets on what makes you scared about it. 5-10 minuets on what makes you excited about it. 5/10 minuets on compassion for yourself related to the situation/person/experience.
  • PODCASTS:

…And the list continues!! You’ve already started, by looking at this list, so YAASS, and thank you, and let’s keep going! It is our responsibility to undo racism and fight for a safe, liberated world for all. Our ancestors have made the path before us – let us continue the work.

In solidarity and with heart,

Aiyana