the politics of representation (I)


my boss is a fan of naming people in the office to lead a diversity initiative promoting artists of color. i've heard from several colleagues that I am not the first to be approached with this challenge--the first was also the first non-white hire, of Indian descent.

in my subtle way, i have received his request with unintelligible mumbling, a nod of agreement, some inner eyeball-rolling. surely this is a noble initiative? only my boss cares little for representation, only that he looks to others as though he really cares.

i wonder, to myself, whether I should champion this cause? whether i should be outspoken and boisterous and invite all my friends to a garish gala in which i announce that we are breaking down doors and taking over?

i could do that, but i would be acting.

Not that I don't believe in the need for greater representation of people of color, of women, of Africans in the mainstream art world; rather, i don't believe my boss. in the same breath as asking me to diversify our talent, he often questions the inclusion of these artists as compromising the "artistic integrity" of his productions.

so i dismiss his request, find it to be the politically correct posturing of a privileged Caucasian male, secure in his lavish home with his wine collection and ascots and african carvings.

even i am his token, as shiny and black as a chess piece.

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