More information on the Dirty White Matter performance on August 8, 2018 can be found here: megstein.com/dirty-white-matter-performance.
Ten percent of all funding received for this project will be donated to the North Carolina NAACP. The remaining eighty percent of the funding received will be used to purchase the materials for the project. Any funding received that exceeds the cost of the materials will be used to host in-person discussion/making circles for locations outside of Durham, NC.
Thank you for your support!
[Please note that the above quote is referring to whiteness as a social construct, not to white privilege. ]
DIRTY WHITE MATTER is a community-based art collaboration that aims to de-purify white femininity and helps white folks be accountable to people of color. It takes two forms: community discussion events and performance. The information below is about the community discussion events. Information about the performance can be found here.
The project uses everyday materials, group discussion, recorded interviews and guided art exercises. Participants will be invited to manipulate materials that visually represent harmful ideas of whiteness and white femininity. While we work, we'll listen to recorded interviews with women of color discussing their experiences with whiteness. Afterward, we'll discuss as a group.
**EVERYONE is welcome**
You can register for free at below or simply show up and you are welcome to join for one or several dates. Each event will be different.
• Upcoming dates (2018):
Wednesday, July 4, 12-2p @ The Carrack (947 E. Main St, Durham)
Thursday, July 19, 7-9p @ The Carrack
[More events will be scheduled for 2018 in Durham and Asheville. Please contact me if you'd like an event on a different date or in a different location.]
• Participate In Person:
You can join in-person (in Durham, NC).
• Participate Via Video Conference:
Those outside of Durham can join via video conference. To do this, send me your mailing address, and I'll mail you materials to us. Prior to the discussion/making circle that you signed up for I will email you a link to access the video conference.
• Be Interviewed for the Project: Non-white females can also participate by being interviewed on their experiences with whiteness. The interviewers and the interviewees are each paid for their time (everyone receives $20/hr). "Dirty White Matter" considers all non-white people experts on whiteness and systemic, race-based oppression in the US. While some non-white folks obviously do more work in these fields than others, the intention here is to validate every non-white person's experiences and to properly acknowledge the amount of emotional labor and work required to live as a non-white person in our white-dominated society. Because interviewers and interviewees are sharing their hard-earned knowledge and experiences, they should be paid for their time.
• Donations & Registration:
These events are free.
[Donations from white participants are welcome! If you're able, $10-$20 optional donations help offset the material costs and helps cover the cost of compensating non-white interviewees for their time and expertise. To make a donation, please visit megstein.com/support/support-meg-steins-work.]
If you have questions, please email me at meg [dot] stein [dot] artist [at] gmail [dot] com.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Do I have to join every event in order to participate?
No, you can join for only one date or you can join for more than one. Ultimately, you're welcome to join as many as you'd like.
2. Do I have to live in Durham, NC to participate?
No, if you live outside Durham, NC, you can join the discussion/making circles via video conference.
3. Is there a way I can participate in the project without joining any of the events?
Yes, if you can't or don't want to physically join the project, you are welcome to contribute to the project by donating. Please see the "Support the project" button in the left-hand column. You can also look at the resource list on this page for other, similar projects that may interest you.
4. None of these dates work for me. Can I still participate?
Yes, you can email me to set up an additional event on a date that works for you. You can also email me to discuss other ways you can be involved.
5. Why is this project designed for white female/femme folks?
The project is primarily designed for folks who are most often identified by others as white and as female or femme (you do NOT have to be a cisgender female to participate and gender non-conforming folks are also super welcome). This requirement invites white female/femme folks to support each other through self-awareness work and emotional labor required for racial justice. As a group we will discuss ways for white female/femme folks to be accountable to women of color while ensuring that white folks do our own emotional labor. We will consider the statement of Black radical feminist Claire Heuchan that, "the onus is on white women to reach out [to women of color] and repair any rift that occurs on the basis of race.” And while this is the focus of the project, ANYONE is welcome to join the events.
6. Can women of color participate in this project in other ways besides joining in person?
Yes, there are a few different ways that women of color are being included in this project. As mentioned above, ultimately, anyone is welcome to join the events. Also, the thoughts, quotes, writings and speeches of women of color are included in the group discussions, through both prompts and comments that I offer the group. All non-white women are welcome to send me any thoughts, comments, etc... that they want me to share with the group (this can be anonymously shared with the group). I am currently working with several friends who are also women of color to set up opportunities where a wide variety of women from non-white backgrounds can use video and audio to share their thoughts and messages for white women. Lastly, I am always open to talking with anyone (including non-white and/or non-female people) who is interested in participating in some way.
7. What materials are used in the project and how were they selected?
The symbolic materials used were selected because they visually represent harmful narratives about whiteness and gender. Every participant is given some combination of materials from this list: tampons, maxi pads, cotton balls, cotton face wipes, panty liners, gauze pads, and q-tips. These materials all use cotton, which is, obviously, a racially charged material in the US. As a plant, cotton is actually an off-white color, so these bright white materials have been bleached to become ivory white. Part of what the materials provide is a lens through which we can look at narratives around whiteness, such as the idea that bright white means “clean, sterile, pure” etc. These materials only come in the color bright white. They are also all used in an intimate bodily way, which also allows us to consider how those ideas of cleanliness and purity affect white women and women of color. Participants are also invited to bring materials that, for them, are connected to whiteness.
Here is a list of similar projects that may also be of interest to you:
• Nice White Ladies
• The Whiteness Project
Here is a list of artists, curators, writers, podcasts, books, organizations and other resources that have greatly aided me in my racial justice work:
• Seeing White podcast (produced at the Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, NC)
• The Racial Equity Institute (based in Greensboro, NC)
• "White Fragility" by Rodin DiAngelo
• “A Syllabus for Making Work About Race as a White Artist in America” by Ryan Wong
• I Am Not Your Negro
• Triangle SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
• White Supremacy Culture (produced by SURJ)
* White Women, Race Matters: The Social Construction of Whiteness by Ruth Frankenburg
• Towards the "Other America": Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter by Chris Crass
• "Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Racism in the Feminist Movement" by Claire Heuchan
• White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art curated by Maurice Berger
• Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens and Mai'a Williams
• “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh