I’m traveling and studying abroad for a time in Australia to study more fashion design. I was really too excited for the opportunity to come and be here…looking forward to studying the Australian take on fashion. I’d seen some videos of runway shows and what I’d seen was very intriguing. The designs had very interesting lines. I couldn’t wait to get over there to learn all that I could.
…and I’ve arrived. I’ve been taking a tour around the city and seeing what’s out and about. There’s only too much interesting art on the walls and also too much beautiful designs. I’ve never seen such great abundance of beautiful clothing…literally shop after shop of great ideas, concepts, and looks. It’s almost too good to be true….but….I have to be honest….to my surprise I’ve been encountering racism. It’s something I did not expect to have a problem with. At first it was little things that someone might experience like not getting your money placed back in your hand during a purchase and then there was literally people moving away when you came to stand next to them in line at a counter or at the street light. I was like oh my goodness! does this really still happen? It wasn’t until I went to a restaurant where I had problems that almost led to me possibly not getting served that I really saw that it was a real problem. The details of the situation I will likely blog about it in another post….mainly because the food was so amazing….ugh the ironies….but the service was terrible.
I’ve even thought about coming home because racism is just something I’m not interested in dealing with….it’s so ‘last season’ if I had to put it into fashion terminology. So when I thought about the things I’d been experiencing and the times when I was little and out with my Mom and brother and encountering racism in restaurants or stores in the late ’70s I realized I hadn’t encountered any racism in years in any real degree. At the restaurant I tried to draw from those experiences as well as solidarity experiences gained during my time at University of Michigan when we would do sit-ins wearing our ‘Too Black Too Strong’ shirts to support a student who had experienced racism in the various dorms during the 90’s. Wow…how do you handle such situations on your own….? You have to draw on your strength and these lessons and in a foreign place in a strange land stand up and still say ‘no’. So when I was in the restaurant I said ‘no’ in my own way. And upon further reflection afterwards of what I was going through it led to the naming of this image as ‘Australia’; another way of me saying ‘no’. I took this picture at the end of a wedding rehearsal dinner and I loved how I caught the edges of Janelle in the image. She was moving through the scene and almost missed….walking in colors of burnt orange and mahogany. I thought this is how I am here….and how any person of color might be when they go somewhere where they may not be in the majority (and this can include someone who is white amongst a sea of color). Was that person seen? Or did someone just miss something almost too beautiful? Something to think on….
I hope you enjoy the image….until next time….Travel Spritely.