the following is an excerpt from a social media post I wrote near the end of the (SUCCESSFUL) campaign that I designed and executed to create a cash prize to encourage filmmakers to tell more stories about people who bring diversity to stark county.
Stark County, Ohio…the place where I have lived more years of my life than any other place…is a racist, sexist, discriminatory, ethnocentric place.
(ouch, hunh? that doesn’t seem like exactly the delicate way of saying it, does it?)
But I’m okay with saying it, because I don’t think that Stark County, Ohio is unique in this regard. I think that fear of the “other” and stereotypes about the unknown are true in every place and about all groups of people.
People in Stark County are VERY *nice*. But sometimes niceness has its limits.
Many different kinds of things have shaped my life that have helped me understand what it means to be on both sides of discrimination, exclusion and small-mindedness.
Sometimes? It feels good.
Unfortunately, THOSE feelings are not to be trusted. Because anytime protecting your borders, demonizing the other and working to keep THEM at arms length? Anytime that feels good? That good feeling is predicated on equal (or stronger) and opposite feelings of bad for another human.
And ultimately this cycle of fear and protectiveness and closed-fistedness can only predict more of the same. And worse.
But I’m not accusing you (dear, reader) of being the problem. No ONE is the problem. The problem is that these stories-of-smallness are so pervasive that they operate with invisible subtlety. We participate in them, retell them, act them out in the smallest unaware gestures.
The radical reduction of their power is only possible if we are willing to actively acknowledge their presence around us and their presence within us.
So I dreamed up this Stark Color Picture Prize because I thought it might give many of us an opportunity to imagine more stories together. I want this prize to reward stories about people who are ethnically and racially diverse in Stark County. I want this prize to reward stories about people who are LGBTQ here in Stark County. I want this prize to reward stories about immigrants who have arrived here in Stark County. I want this prize to reward stories about people who are differently abled here in Stark County.
I’m not going to re-iterate HOW the prize will do that. If you have read this far?
I KNOW you’ll be willing to click the link below and find out more about the prize.
And I HOPE you’ll consider doing one of two things:
a. donating — even if it’s a little bit — the whole point of CROWDFUNDING this prize is that I wanted the prize to be a token of WIDESPREAD GOODWILL. Little contributions mean the world in a case like this.
b. sharing about the prize in your social media spheres.
Even though I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in my life? I’ve actually lived here for a very short time compared to many of you. I don’t have the widespread networks that you do. You know people that might care about these issues and have the means to finish off the prize-raising tonight. So share.
Oh wait: there’s one more thing. (c.) I need your help tricking the robots of facebook If you simply click a react button (like, love, haha, so-sad) on this post? The robots will mis-hear your click and THINK that you ordered them to show this post to MORE PEOPLE.
Trickery is in general bad. But not so much when it’s leveraged against The Robots of the Future World.
(sorry, robots, someday I’ll probably want to end discrimination against you too. but not today.)