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current-display
 

Sandbox (n):

 

1) a testing environment that isolates untested code changes and outright experimentation from the production environment or repository, in the context of software development including Web development and revision control.

2) a shallow box or hollow in the ground partly filled with sand for children to play in.

July 2020

Work-In-Progress by Ellis Wilson
 

Ellis Wilson (b. 1996) is a black and indigenous conceptual artist and polymath currently based in Seattle, Washington. From 2015-2017, after majoring in fine art and filmmaking at Cornish College of the Arts and California College of the Arts respectively, Ellis was both constrained and dismayed by the racism and class discrimination that was prevalent in these white dominated spaces. Working with his brother and musician Carter Wilson, together they launched the Unilalia Group as an independent art firm in 2018, created by BIPOC artists for the purpose of decolonizing the production of culture.
 

#WIP Externalize, release, and exhale old stories or the wounds will fester: compounded trauma will bring you down. Tell everybody how you really feel and never censor yourself – don’t let them deny your reality. This is a collection of pieces, like thoughts and ideas, outlines and stories about navigating white spaces, titled “Baby, I Wanna Go to Unilalia” as an homage to the motif of finding that escape.
 

No. 001 ( in white spaces )

In seventh grade, you put your hands around my neck and strangled me on the bus like a fucking coward. You called me a monkey. You said I was stupid and made mockery of my race. You gaslighted me into compliance and marginalized my voice. I was one of the only black kids at your school and when you tokenized me, I hated you for it. You called me ghetto like it was my name. You told my brother he had “dirty blood”. You said I was dangerous and then you called me a nigger. You laughed at me when I told you I can’t sleep at night because there’s gunfire down my street. You asked me “Ellis, how’d you even get into this school?” insinuating that I was too stupid to be admitted. You graded me down because you have a racial bias against me and you’re weak because you refuse to hold yourself accountable for your total lack of self awareness and cultural literacy. You’ve failed me as an educator. You’ve failed me as a classmate. You’ve failed me as a friend and you’ve failed me as a peer. I can’t trust you because you stood by and ignored my pleas for change. I can’t trust you because you refused to decenter yourself. How can I trust you after you’ve shown me that you’re a shell of a human being, devoid of empathy and common sense. You singled me out and then you put me in a box. You’re fucking wrong and the reason why you won’t admit that is because you’re afraid of me and what I represent. You’ve been afraid of me ever since I turned thirteen - you cross the street when you see me. You lock your car doors when I walk past. You follow me around in stores. You ostracize me. You treat me like I’m not human and the more I think about it, it’s like you seek to destroy my faith in humanity. 


#growingupblack 
#unilalianism

No. 002 ( epigenetics + brain injury )

You killed all of my people. You enslaved my ancestors. You destroyed my land. You desecrated my home. You erased my culture and then you erased my language. I know you’re familiar with this list. You poisoned my food and you brought disease upon my family! You tried to take everything from me! You pitted my brothers and sisters against each other; you defiled my community with your lies and manipulation. I know who you really are! You raped my people and experimented with them like rats. You slaughtered and terrorized my ancestors like animals. You bombed our places of worship and mutilated our children. You called us your property; you treated us like objects because you’re sick! You betrayed nature. You told me, my brothers and my sisters that we didn’t love ourselves: you sought to control and destroy our perception of self and now, I can tell who you really are. You sought to manipulate me. You sought to control us, through fear and terror, trauma and genocide, pain and destruction, war, hunger, and scarcity, through gaslighting and cultural infiltration, through emotional abuse, dehumanization and perversion. I know your strategy. Ever since I was a kid, from every direction — mind, spirit, and body — you and your people have been trying to fucking kill me. I know who you really are! You’ve been trying to destroy everything that has to do with me. All these atrocities, death and annihilation, everything is passed down and embedded in my genes, my genetic history. Can you tell me how mind control works because I can tell you - it has everything to do with the intersection between the weaponization of limbic resonance and compounded generational trauma. 


#growingupblack 
#unilalianism

Often the lynch mob acted with haste, but on other occasions the lynching was a long-drawn out affair with speeches, food-eating, and, unfortunately, ritualistic and sadistic torture: victims were dragged behind cars, pierced with knives, burned with hot irons or blowtorches, had their fingers and toes cut off, had their eyes cut out, and were castrated -- all before being hanged or burned to death. One Mississippi newspaper referred to these gruesome acts as "Negro barbeques."

In many cases -- arguably in most cases -- lynch mobs had a particular target and confined their heinous aggression to a specific person. Blacks were lynched for a variety of accusations, ranging from murder, and rape (often not true), to trying to vote, and arguing with a white man. In 1938, a white man in Oxford, Mississippi declared that it was "about time to have another lynching. When the niggers get so they are not afraid of being lynched, it is time to put the fear in them." There were many blacks lynched randomly, to send a message of white supremacy to black communities. As noted by Dominic J. Capeci, a historian, when it came to lynching, "one black man served as well as another." 

We often think of a mob as an insane, bloodthirsty collection of adult male ruffians. However, respectable community leaders, including police, often lynched blacks. Although women and children were not typically the active aggressors they were often in the audience; and, they, too, celebrated. There were "secret lynches," but there were many done publicly -- and planned. Of course, news of an impending lynching traveled fast. Lynching was a brutal attempt to reinforce white supremacy, but it was also entertainment -- and food was present.

 

According to Dray: "While attendees at lynchings did not take away a plate of food, the experience of having witnessed the event was thought incomplete if one did not go home with some piece of cooked human being; and there is much anecdotal evidence of lynch crowds either consuming food and drink while taking part in the execution, or retiring en masse immediately afterward for a meal or, in the case of a notorious immolation in Pennsylvania in 1911, ice cream sundaes."

Source

As children, what happens when we internalize this history? As adults, what happens when we choose to ignore the historical context of whiteness?

No. 004 ( neglect )

I don’t care how many token black friends you have. I don’t give a fuck if you’re “kind” to black people. Kindness doesn’t mean shit - anti racist work was never about being kind. It’s about power transference and deconstructing white supremacy and dismantling (instead of ignoring) anti-blackness in your homes, in your community groups, in your schools, in your medical and clinical practices, in your art work, in your businesses, in your social and professional relationships, in your resource allocation programs, in your urban development and political institutions and in every other facet of this shit-for-brains society. Miss me with your superficial displays of kindness and all your empty performances and gutless gestures of sympathy. Fuck all that phony shit - I know who you really are. Step up to the plate, grow up and take responsibility for the role you play in this society or die trying. Look in the fucking mirror for once and see who you really are. Every single time I spoke about race in the past, you fucking ignored me!

Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 11.49.43 PM.pn

What they do is never enough. This isn’t the time to circle up with other white people and discuss black pain in the abstract; it’s the time to acknowledge and examine the pain they’ve personally caused.⠀

Right now, many of my black friends are also experiencing the temporary phenomenon of the Outreach: a surge of “checking in” texts and emails, gifts, meals, and private DMs giving — and sometimes even seeking in the same message — support.⠀

 

This is the racial ouroboros our country finds itself locked in, as black Americans relive an endless loop of injustice and white Americans keep revisiting the same performance, a Broadway show that never closes, just goes on hiatus now and then. This is our own racial ouroboros. The chaos we see now stems in part from the chaos foisted upon us for generations. The injustice we protest isn’t rooted in just police killings; it lives also within housing and school choices; social and professional networks; the defunding of nonwhite organizations; the demotion and firing of black employees; the microaggressions and slights that happen at dinner parties, restaurants, cafes and concerts.⠀

The right acknowledgment of black justice, humanity, freedom and happiness won’t be found in your book clubs, protest signs, chalk talks or organizational statements. It will be found in your earnest willingness to dismantle systems that stand in our way — be they at your job, in your social network, your neighborhood associations, your family or your home. It’s not just about amplifying our voices, it’s about investing in them and in our businesses, education, political representation, power, housing and art. It starts, also, with reflection on the harm you’ve probably caused in a black person’s life. It may have happened when you were 10, 16, 22, 36 or 42. Comforting as it may be to read and discuss the big questions about race and justice and America, making up for past wrongs means starting with the fact that you’ve done wrong in the past, perhaps without realizing it at the time...

 

– Source

No. 003 ( release your anger )

Don’t pretend to all of a sudden care about black people - where were you three years ago? Where were you when I needed help? Remember how you ignored and gaslighted me when I spoke on my experience navigating white spaces? I’ve been speaking on and addressing racism and white supremacy for years, in my work, in my conversations, and in my actions. What have you really been doing? Remember how you consistently lied to me? How come your actions rarely match your words? I don’t trust you because you’ve already shown me how you’re completely full of shit. Donate all the money you want; sign as many petitions as you want - I know who you really are. You don’t give a fuck about black people until it becomes an opportunity for self aggrandizement, until your reputation is at stake, until it becomes a vanity project for you, until it becomes trendy and “mainstream”, until its in your interest to show your support as part of your brand’s PR campaign, in order to save face and preserve your black consumer base. Why should I trust you when you pick and choose when to treat me like a human being? Why does my right to be human have to be given to me, on your time table? Never in my life have I ever heard you even begin to address your role in perpetuating anti-blackness but now, all of a sudden, you care? I know who you really are - you’ve never shown even the slightest amount of empathy towards me unless it suited your agenda. Yet still, I extend compassion, as in sympathetic pity, to those who’ve hurt me and done me wrong. We’re all works in progress. Maybe I have fucking Stockholm syndrome or maybe I’m taking the high road.

 

"You don't love yourself."

This is white America's ongoing message to black, brown, and indigenous people, repeated and replicated by mainstream news and media, film and entertainment, public and private education, and more. Reproducing and capitalizing off of black pain, black labor, black subjugation and black self sabotage has always been the cornerstone of American culture.

No. 005 ( exposed )

I know who you really are. You can't fool me.

"Psychological violence by malignant narcissists can include verbal and emotional abuse, toxic projection, stonewalling, sabotage, smear campaigns, triangulation along with a plethora of other forms of coercion and control. This is imposed by someone who lacks empathy, demonstrates an excessive sense of entitlement and engages in interpersonal exploitation to meet their own needs at the expense of the rights of others.

As a result of chronic abuse, victims may struggle with symptoms of PTSD or Complex PTSD if they had additional traumas like being abused by narcissistic parents or even what is known as “Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome” (Staggs, 2016; Stailk, 2017). The aftermath of narcissistic abuse can include depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, a pervasive sense of  toxic shame, emotional flashbacks that regress the victim back to the abusive incidents, and overwhelming feelings of helplessness and worthlessness."

- source

#growingupblack 

#narcissisticabuse

#tobecontinued

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For context, this is how multiple sources define racial trauma:

 

"It is clear that racial discrimination is linked to negative mental health outcomes. Unfortunately, racial micro-aggressions are used today and is a more subtle form of racism. Racial micro-aggressions are hurtful comments that “convey hostile, derogatory, and/or invalidating meanings to people of color (Comas-Díaz, 2016). It is important to recognize that racial discrimination is not merely a negative experience but is a race-based traumatic stressor that triggers trauma responses in people who experience racism. More specifically, racial trauma refers to the “events of danger related to real or perceived experience of racial discrimination, threats of harm and injury, and humiliating and shaming events, in addition to witnessing harm to other ethnoracial individuals because of real or perceived racism” (Comas-Díaz, 2016).

 

Trauma reactions such as increased vigilance, heightened sensitivity, intrusive and painful memories, burnout and irritability, dissociation, and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are a common response to racial trauma. Race-based traumatic stress trauma differs from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in that victims are exposed to constant racial microaggressions (Comas-Díaz, 2016). While the content of the traumatic experience(s) may differ, the trauma responses are similar. The frequency, intensity, and pervasiveness of racial stereotypes, racial bias, and racial discrimination produce emotional and psychological distress as well as physiological stress reactions. Altogether, these racial traumas occur over and over again, resulting in what is termed racial battle fatigue. Racial battle fatigue is just that—- fatigue from hearing, seeing, and experiencing incessant racism and racial discrimination. Because individuals who face discrimination experience trauma symptoms similar to war veterans who experience PTSD symptoms, the racial “battle fatigue” occurs. This imagery connotes the arduous uphill battle and exhaustion that individuals and groups of people who face racial discrimination experience on a daily basis. If not dealt with, racial battle fatigue can lead to serious mental health problems and severe psychological distress."

To Unilalia (WIP continued)

Visual for Carter Wilson's Million Miles Away.

#WIP Externalize, release, and exhale old stories or the wounds will fester: compounded trauma will bring you down. Tell everybody how you really feel and never censor yourself – don’t let them deny your reality. This is a collection of pieces, like thoughts and ideas, outlines and stories about navigating white spaces, titled “Baby, I Wanna Go to Unilalia” as an homage to the motif of finding that escape.
 

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Ellis Wilson (b. 1996) is a black and indigenous conceptual artist and polymath currently based in Seattle, Washington. From 2015-2017, after majoring in fine art and filmmaking at Cornish College of the Arts and California College of the Arts respectively, Ellis was both constrained and dismayed by the racism and class discrimination that was prevalent in these white dominated spaces. Working with his brother and musician Carter Wilson, together they launched the Unilalia Group as an independent art firm in 2018, created by BIPOC artists for the purpose of decolonizing the production of culture.
 

 

Understanding racial trauma.

(the invisible damage of white spaces)

#growingupblack 

December,  2017

Oakland, California

Only recycled materials were used:

canvas, copper, wood, latex, acrylics, foam core, and modeling paste

"Racial trauma can result from one to innumerable experiences of racism such as workplace discrimination or hate crimes, or it can be the result of repeated occurrences, such as racial profiling and micro-aggression (Williams, 2019). There are even new developments in the literature that suggest that exposure to racial trauma both directly and indirectly, through media outlets, have implications for psychological health and well-being (Tynes, et al., 2019). The trauma may result in issues of self-esteemself-confidence, and self-worth—but it has remained largely invisible in its impact.

As an African American therapist, I often get calls from fellow African Americans specifically looking to work with a Black therapist/counselor. Most want to openly discuss their experiences with racism. They share narratives of being followed in stores to being undermined or ignored in their workplaces. I listen first, validate, and deeply empathize. These encounters produce lasting psychological effects including but not limited to: depressionanxiety, hypervigilance to threat, post-traumatic stress disorder, and can even contribute to the development of chronic diseases (Carter et al., 2017; Comas-Díaz et al., 2019; Franklin et al., 2006).

As stated by the president of the American Psychological Association, “We are living in a racism pandemic.”

Black people are not only enduring the cumulative effects of racism but of the country’s thousands of COVID-19 cases. They are the most likely group to die from COVID-19 symptoms compared to their White counterparts."  - source

 “Many ethnic and racial groups experience higher rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as compared to White Americans. One explanation for this is the experience of racism, which can itself be traumatic.

When traumatization is due to experiences of racism it is sometimes called racial trauma. Racial trauma can result from major experiences of racism such as workplace discrimination or hate crimes, or it can be the result of an accumulation of many small occurrences, such as everyday discrimination and microaggressions.

Further, assessing discriminatory distress in patients of color during a clinical encounter may be uncomfortable for therapists who have not had practice discussing racial issues. Many White people are socialized to demonstrate non-racist values by not talking about race. However, this approach leaves such clinicians ill-equipped to have conversations about race with their clients of color, and so it is even less likely they will be able engage in productive conversations surrounding traumatic experiences of racism.” — https://www.apa.org/pubs/highlights/spotlight/issue-128

Racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS), refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. Any individual that has experienced an emotionally painful, sudden, and uncontrollable racist encounter is at risk of suffering from a race-based traumatic stress injury. In the U.S., Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) are most vulnerable due to living under a system of white supremacy. 

Experiences of race-based discrimination can have detrimental psychological impacts on individuals and their wider communities.

 

In some individuals, prolonged incidents of racism can lead to symptoms like those experienced with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can look like depression, anger, recurring thoughts of the event, physical reactions (e.g. headaches, chest pains, insomnia), hypervigilance, low-self-esteem, and mentally distancing from the traumatic events. Some or all of these symptoms may be present in someone with RBTS and symptoms can look different across different cultural groups. It is important to note that unlike PTSD, RBTS is not considered a mental health disorder. RBTS is a mental injury that can occur as the result of living within a racist system or experiencing events of racism

-https://www.mhanational.org/racial-trauma

How multiple sources describe racial trauma:

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