Evergreen faculty member Naima Lowe has a new publication that is getting some important attention. The title is “Thirty-Nine (39) Questions for White People,” and those questions can really make a person stop and think.
An artist and filmmaker, Naima recently gave an interview to Salon.com about her latest work and it’s focus on race, privilege, perspective and social context. In a preface to the interview, Salon.com offers this characterization:
Naima Lowe’s “Thirty-Nine (39) Questions for White People,” a book born from observations about her class of predominantly white students, has been generating buzz for the potentially uncomfortable questions it forces its viewers to consider. The project presents 39 simple questions — questions that are all-too-relatable for anyone who identifies as a racial minority — but flips the perspective from the minority back to the majority. Questions like “How do you know you’re white?” and “Do you notice when the last white person leaves the room?” become surprising and almost jarring, forcing white people to think more critically about the experience (and inherent privilege) of being white.
Publisher DangerDot Publishing applauds the work as “a stunning art piece and rare book that insists that readers reflect on the complexity of race, and the privilege to not have to notice it.” The first edition consists of 40 hand letter-pressed copies that sold out quickly. In response to the interest, Naima back at work on a larger run, 2nd Edition, in an alternate format.
In any social context, this is an important conversation. Brava to Naima for asking the questions.
Diversity Note: As of this fall, twenty-five percent (25% -1,085 students) of Evergreen’s student body self identify as students of color. Of that total enrollment number, about 100 students of color attend Evergreen’s Tacoma Program.