I interviewed 100 people across the U.S. with the prompt “imagine a U.S. without racism,” and I found myself surprised. People are far more complex, nuanced, contradictory, thoughtful, and caring than I expected. Asking about racism led people to talk about politics, money, education, healthcare, land usage, family, and neighborhood. People surprised me as they expressed philosophies that I didn’t expect they would hold given the experiences they shared, such as the Black man who, despite experiencing racially motivated hate against him, chooses to notice and share “love in action.” People also defied their political identities, like the Conservative who believes in free community college and basic income for all. People also disappointed, like the attorney who refuses to talk to their neighbor because of the political flags on their porch. I could go on and on. The more I was surprised, the more I realized somewhere in my life, I must have stopped talking to people outside my bubble and allowed myself to see people in rigid categories. These categories weren’t useful or even true. The messy, beautiful reality of people is so much bigger and richer than these rigid boxes most of us put people into.
Many of the things I heard in the interviews were woven into the play imagine a u.s. without racism, running April 8 - May 1, 2022 at Mixed Blood Theatre.
The 50 posts on this blog include words from various interviewees, information on the production and the people behind the project. They are posted in the reverse chronological order from when I wrote the posts -- so you may want to start at the bottom if you're inclined to read all the posts. I invite you to leave comments and share your thoughts on the prompt "imagine a U.S. without racism."
I hope, in the coming days, you find yourself in conversation with someone outside your regular circle. I hope you can hear them, and they can hear you, and I hope you surprise each other.