The Sculpting Form of Equality
Throughout American history, the push for equal rights for all Americans regardless of race, and cultural heritage/background have become more significant because of the way I have noticed that people of all races are accepted in my community, so I believe others in society need to understand that regardless of differences in background, everyone is human, and deserve to be treated equally. This is greatly evident in the early to mid-1900s, during the Harlem Renaissance, and even now in 2019. The Harlem Renaissance was the initial startup of the movement, whereas the equality movements now continue the push for equal rights to further progress, which is evident in Harlem Renaissance artwork, such as paintings, and hand made sculptures.
During the Harlem Renaissance from around the 1920s to the 1930s, by using art to express beliefs of equality, artists were able to express their feeling about not being treated equally as an individual, as well as an African American living in America. In terms of being the “startup” for the movement, the Harlem Renaissance mainly included forms of art. Paintings and sculptures during the Harlem Renaissance indirectly addressed the problem that African Americans were facing with equality, doing no harm. One sculpture known as Ethiopia Awakening by Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller consists of a young African American woman dressed in clothes similar to that of an ancient Egyptian. The woman has her right hand on her chest, over her heart, while the other hand rests by her side. The mentioning of Ethiopia in the title of the sculpture represents “the only African nation had that retained its independence from Western powers” as well as “African American self-determination”(Archino). Although this sculpture is from 1921, there are still cases of African Americans living in America treated as if they are not part American/Western society, which displays evidence of the presence of inequality. In the American Criminal Justice System, a surprising “nine-in-ten black adults (87%) said blacks are generally treated less fairly by the criminal justice system than whites”(Gramlich). These 2 themes contain the common concept of individuals of a different race experiencing poorer treatment from society. The number one difference between the two is that from the Harlem Renaissance to now, there have been many successful attempts to provide African American citizens living in America to have the same rights as white citizens, as well as being included in the constitution. However, just because all American citizens of any type of background have constitutional rights by law, this does not entirely prevent unfair treatment such as hurtful comments and actions but makes certain unfair treatments look bad to the public.
In my community, however, the number of differences in treatment to those of a different race I have noticed is little to none at all. Of course, I would not experience cases of different treatment as much as another student of a different background experiencing the hurtful comments and treatment first hand, as well as being personally affected by it. During my experiences at school, I have witnessed as well as heard about minimal to no experiences related to the race of another, but then again, there are so many other students in the school in different grades that differences in treatments based on race. After reading the winner of the 2019 TEAM Westport Essay Contest, one Staples student felt that according to other students, as an African American, they “didn't fit the stereotypes [the other students] grew up on”(Ellis). From reading the rest of the winning essay, something clear came to me. I noticed the differences in treatment towards others of a different cultural background. Perspective plays an extremely significant role in this kind of situation because, in my community, there is a larger population of Caucasians in our school system, which is why students may treat other students from another cultural background differently because of the difference in population.
Comparing a mostly white community such as mine compared to that of a larger community with more of a balance, there are going to be misconceptions about the way other people should be treated based on race. To solve this, there needs to be of a say with minorities such as African Americans, regarding their perspective on the way they are treated in their communities. The way they are physically able to speak out with words, instead of using works of art, the message of equality being portrayed towards the audience directly comes to them, whereas with a painting, the intended message may be unclear or incomplete. At the end of the day, skin color and background do not change the fact that we are all human, so by spreading ideas of equality, those who put in the effort to achieve an equal society will be satisfied.
Ellis, Chet. “The Sound Of Silence.” Town of Westport, CT : 2019 Essay Contest
Gramlich, John. “From Police to Parole, Black and White Americans Differ Widely in Their Views
of Criminal Justice System.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 21 May 2019, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/05/21/from-police-to-parole-black-and-white-americans-differ-widely-in-their-views-of-criminal-justice-system/.
Hood, Sherrie. “Influence of the Harlem Renaissance on Society Essay.” Artscolumbia,
Artscolumbia, 15 Apr. 2019, artscolumbia.org/art-history/post-classical/renaissance/influence-of-the-harlem-renaissance-on-society-20656/.
“National Gallery of Art.” Harlem Renaissance,
Seiferle, Rebecca. “Harlem Renaissance Paintings and Sculptures.” Edited by Sarah Archino,
The Art Story, 23 Dec. 2018, www.theartstory.org/movement-harlem-renaissance-artworks.htm.