Roh Moo-Hyun: Artistic Responsibility
I like many of you have long-term projects. I am working on a series of illustrations about South Korean leaders. I just finished the colors on Roh Moo-Hyun, a former South Korean president. He is one of the few South Korean presidents that I actually liked.
Of course, it doesn’t really matter if I like any politician or not. This is particularly true of South Korean politicians because I am not a South Korean. In my last post, I wrote about racial fetishizing in art. I do think this is a problem. Related to that topic, I wanted to talk about white fragility just a little bit.
White fragility has a massive background that is worth unpacking. I’ve been thinking about the subject and how it relates to white dudes like me. I came across an interesting quote in Alexandra Tsuneta’s February 19 post “Why Are White Men So Fragile?” that discusses some of the problems she faces when writing about whiteness. She writes, “I have never read an article that I disagreed with and felt the need to threaten somebody’s life and then subsequently troll all of the rest of their articles. Never in my life have I been as bothered as white men on the internet.” Basically, she doesn’t troll like triggered white dudes troll. I’ve noticed this in several articles about whiteness and race. These guys are simply over-sensitive about being white.
So, I’m white. And I’ve portraited hundreds of people, most of which are my fellow white dudes, but I am not doing this now. In this project, I am portraiting Asian people, and one of the problems with doing this is my motives. Am I performing a massive troll? I don’t think so, but I do have to be sensitive to the reasons I am doing what I am doing. The first step is to be aware and to be suspicious of my own motivations. Being white means I have gotten a free pass, and obviously, this can’t happen any longer.
Racially fetishizing and racial trolling are problems I think political cartoonists and artists have to watch out for. Mostly, we have to take responsibility for our own work and our own biases. The keyword is responsibility. I am responsible for my own work and how I plan them.