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Erasure in the Workplace

Being an actor in the workplace is hard work. It is demeaning and degrading. This is an example of “erasure.” Can you imagine how it would feel if the roles were reversed? If we white people had to change our mannerisms, ways of speaking, and expressing ourselves? If we weren’t listened to, treated equally, or given a chance to be who we are, what we value, what we can offer, how far we are able to go?

Of course, as in my other paintings, I have exaggerated the differences in dress and attitudes the Black players display. They would not dress like this, nor present themselves as haughty or angry or peeved by the lack of interest in who they are. They would lose their jobs! The erasure is sometimes blatant, but most often, nuanced, subtle, yet always insidious. 

In my opinion, erasure of personhood is worse than rewriting history and ignoring the accomplishments of Blacks (and people of color and members of the LBGTQ+ community).  Being treated as a second-class citizen and being forced to become someone other than who you are, is emotional abuse at its worst.

May we accept the fact that all humans deserve to be their authentic selves, that their talents and strengths are given equal value, and that the workplace is a better place when all of us show up…just as we are.