I just got a great email from Bill Fisher, who is 1/2 of the notorious art duo who created the censored Runaway Bride artwork in Gainesville, Georgia. He provided me with a web address that contains the whole sordid saga so far. Here is a section of their letter to the Quinlan Arts Center:
The piece in question features Jennifer Wilbanks and how "easy" (her word to Katie Couric) it was for her to cast a Hispanic man and white woman as armed kidnappers and sexual predators. Her "story" placed Latino men (an already oppressed group) and their white women companions (women - another marginalized group) in harms way (see Emmit Till, Rosewood, Florida, and Susan Smith). Our piece questions how our society continues to readily accept the mythical stereotype that men of color are oversexed, dangerous, violent, and strictly interested in miscegenation. The Quinlan's decision to pull the work silenced the interaction and dissemination of these ideas based on our real experiences, re-marginalizing the marginalized. But racism is not solely a Latino issue; all of us are responsible in identifying and eradicating it, and it is an issue that taints all that refuse its existence and/or choose to silence the messengers. Racism diminishes everyone's humanity, perpetrator and victim alike - although the victim loses much more. To deny the presence (within the context of the Quinlan's exhibit) of the effects of racism towards the Latino community within the confines of the U.S. borders is to ask us to betray our own real life experiences of racism in the US, to be ignorant of our history as a nation and to be irresponsible as an institution that is also about education - which was one of the main points of the exhibition.For more information, contact Bill Fisher or Richard Lou.