About The Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories Project
The Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories Project is dedicated to using the transformative powers of the arts and creative writing to mourn the creation of racial categories in the United States and to help us understand the dynamics of separation, loss and abandonment on which those categories were founded. The race concept and its categorical vision of humanity has a 400-year history. Everyone who lives, or has ever lived in the United States, has wrestled (some more than others) with that categorical vision and their place within it. Countless numbers have been tormented and tortured by that vision. The project’s goal is to add something NEW to the much-needed national conversation on race. While artistic expression cannot, by itself, erase the pain, suffering, misunderstandings and inequalities that the creation, and 400-year existence of racialized categories supports, it can encourage us to mourn. Clinical psychologist Edwin Shneidman maintains “mourning is one of the most profound human experiences that it is possible to have…The deep capacity to weep…is one of our noblest human traits.” When we can see the need to mourn the creation of racial categories, we have made the mental leap to begin the healing and reconciliation process.
The expected outcome of the project is modest – to create art and language that will move audiences to mourn with the ultimate outcome being to change people’s assumptions about who we are. We believe changing assumptions is the first step toward transforming the way we perceive race and go about interacting with different race-labeled peoples. This transformation prepares us to work through the real problems that are the legacy of racial categories.