Offer valid criticisms of MedievalPoC.. lose followers.
Being pissed someone decided to speak on behalf of ALL non-White Europeans is wrong of me. It’s not even about “accuracy”, it’s about the many problematic things they have done:
I didn’t even remember to mention about the time they called a Jewish historical figure “White”, insinuated because they’re American , it’s okay to racialize historical Jews as White. They also never corrected themselves & ignored Jewish bloggers who questioned them.
They posted a picture of “Gypsy Madonna”, which is not of an actual Romani woman, but got its name long after the artist died. The name of the painting is not only offensive on its own, but the reasoning behind the painting name was based on the appearance of the woman; i.e. if it looks too “Gypsy”, it cannot be White & must be “Gypsy”, which is a racist way of thinking. When called out by several bloggers, many of whom weren’t even Romani, MedievalPoC offered no response nor an apology.
Mind you, this was all after Tumblr Roma called them out for stating that Romani couldn’t be included because we’re “too White”, and again claiming that because they’re American, they have the right to make such claims even though we are the largest [non-White] ethnic minority in all of Europe.
Can I repeat that again: MedievalPoC has a record of Whitewashing and speaking over Romani & Jewish individuals on a blog about non-White Europeans in historical art. They effectively exclude the two largest historical and modern non-White ethnic groups in all of Europe.
The simple act of White-washing Romani & Jewish Europeans is just awful and abhorrent, as both ethnic groups have long histories of slavery, oppression & forced assimilation. Gee, how might an indisputably brown ethnic group have come to be fairer skinned after hundreds of years of slavery and oppression in Europe? Let’s think about the implications of that.
They have labeled Greeks & Macedonians as “PoC” and when actual Greek & Macedonian scholars have corrected their information, offered valid sources & criticisms, they are subsequently portrayed as “biased” or “racist”, even though Greek & S. Slavic art & academia have their own history of being White-washed by Western Europeans.
They entirely ignore ethnic divisions within Europe, which effectively homogenizes all “White” [according to them] European ethnic groups & erases numerous Indigenous European populations that are not always viewed as “White”. There is no mention anywhere on their blog that both modern & historical European racism is largely ethnic based, which leads many of their followers to wrongly believe that European racism operates in the same manner as American racism because they analyze European history and art through an American lens. They are also 100% unapologetic about it.
They’ve been called out for posting Orientalist art without discussing the content or problems of that piece of art.
They referred to Adyghe people as “Circassian”, an exonym, and labeled them as “PoC”, but they support bloggers who White-washed Chechens following the Boston Marathon bombing. It is likely that since they follow the bloggers who were doing this, that they, too, re-blogged or commented on such posts. There is, generally, an obvious disregard when it comes to asking the preferred racial or ethnic identity of certain groups of people. They also seem to only want to include certain ethnic groups as “PoC” [whether these groups view themselves as such or not] when it is convenient and can get them more notes or followers.
They insinuate that there were “PoC” within all of Europe during the entire Middle Ages & that every single White European would have seen a brown or black skinned person in their lifetime. While there were obvious “PoC” [by modern American standards] in parts of Europe, there were still many remote regions and small towns or villages where the inhabitants would never have seen anyone who didn’t look like them in their lifetime. Other than the fact that this claim is simply not true, by insinuating that “race” was even a “thing” in Medieval times & that Europeans thought on the basis of race completely disregards the historical ethnic tensions that were the basis not only for modern European racism, but also modern American racism. Modern American racism started with racial antisemitism in Europe, but since they buy into the “White Jews” myth and ignore Jewish & Romani objections to how we are portrayed on their blog, they probably wouldn’t know this. No, history doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so why are they putting it in a giant American Oreck?!
They un-apologetically speak over European academics & simply ignore them when it is proven that they have posted inaccurate or offensive material.
They labeled an historical figure who is 15 times removed from their African ancestry as “PoC” based on faulty assumptions about a poem that had been written about her. In actuality, the offensive language win the poem had nothing to do with her African ancestry, but was a common generalization used against Slavic Europeans. Yet again, they have used misinformation to speak over historically marginalized European ethnic groups & engaged in the erasure of any previously experienced or modern ethnocentrism such ethnic groups face.
They post pictures of individuals who were likely not, and in some cases proven to not be PoC, which is entirely negligent. Picking out people depicted with slightly darker skin & slapping the “PoC” label on them is entirely antithetical to the purpose of the blog. Not only is it inaccurate and offensive [as with the “Gypsy Madonna” case], but it destroys the very notion that Europe is quite ethnically diverse and has been for centuries. It indirectly erases a multitude of ethnic based slaveries, genocides, and oppressions because it homogenizes all European ethnic groups. You cannot just decide the ethnicity of a person in a picture because they appear look like they may be PoC.
There is far more basis to the criticisms of MedievalPoC than their “fans” want to admit. When you have some of the largest European ethnic minorities claiming that what you’re doing is harmful, offensive, and actually undermines us, you’re probably doing something very problematic.
As a Roma woman, I am all for representation, but it needs to be accurate and responsible representation. You cannot skew the discourse & then justify it because “I’m American”. That type of thinking already dominates the global discourse on racism & ethnocentrism. That type of thinking actually contributes to modern ethnic violence in Europe. Because, guess what, history doesn’t exist in a vacuum..
There are Black Europeans on this site, there are E. & S. Asian Europeans on this site, there are Romani & Jewish Europeans on this site, there are Indigenous Europeans on this site, there are plenty of PoC/non-White Europeans on here who currently live, work, and attend universities in Europe and are more than qualified to discuss representation in European art in a way that is sensitive to both historical and modern racism & ethnocentrism in Europe. Let them have a voice for once.
I seriously had high hopes for that blog. I love the thought of representing non-White individuals in both modern and historical art, but you don’t have to do so while actively stepping on and speaking over already marginalized ethnic groups. That is no okay.
Four years earlier, in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed.
Five years before that, in 1963, Medgar Evers was shot and killed.
Eight years before that, in 1955, a young Black man named Emmett Till was tortured, then shot and killed.
These events, and numerous others with frightening similarity, happened in a line, and in the early years of the first decade to reap the social benefits of the Civil Rights Movement, Marvel Comics gives the fans (and the world) a Black male superhero whose primary superhuman aspect… is that he’s bulletproof.
Not flight, or super speed, or a power ring.
The superhuman ability of being impervious to bullets.
Superheroes. Action heroes. Fantasy heroes.
Is there any doubt the power fantasy of the Black man in the years following multiple assassinations of his leaders and children by way of the gun would be superhuman resistance to bullets?
In American society, the Black man has come a long way from the terrors of the past handful of centuries, only to crash right into the terrors of the 21st century. Some of those terrors being the same exact ones their grandparents had to face and survive — or not.
There are Black men who are wealthy, powerful, formidable and/or dangerous. They can affect change undreamt of by their parents, and their parents’ parents. Their children will be able to change the world in ways we can intuit and others we can barely begin to try and predict.
But a bullet can rip through their flesh and their future with no effort whatsoever.
And so we look at Luke Cage, a man who gets shot on a regular basis, whose body language is such that he is expecting to be shot at, prepared for the impact — because he knows he can take it.
And maybe, in the subconscious of the uni-mind of Marvel Comics, is the understanding that Luke Cage may unfortunately always be a relevant fantasy idea for the Black man.
2012 – Trayvon Martin is shot and killed.
2013 – Jonathan Ferrell is shot and killed.
2014 – Michael Brown is shot and killed.
2015/2016 – Luke Cage premieres on Netflix.
I look forward to seeing if the Luke Cage of that show will have a true understanding of his power and what he symbolizes.
what's the deal with artist's statements on art projects? are they required by institutions or something? it's always a little jarring seeing a really cool painting or photo project or whatever, next to a really academic, nearly impenetrable wall of text about it
Artists universally despise artist’s statements, in my experience, and only do it under intense duress. We hate writing them and we hate people reading them. They are generally demanded by business managers, gallerists, collectors, schools, occasionally patrons (although not often, hail satan), press kits, CVs, and group shows or festivals.
Last time I was asked for an artist’s statement (for a press kit) I made Simon write it for me after listing off some shit I’ve done, and only gave it a very cursory glance before “approving” it.
My best guess is that you can safely ignore artist’s statements, and/or assume someone had to write it at gunpoint, or that it was written by a third party and the artist wanted as little to do with it as possible.