“What I’ve been going toward is this idea that pink is the inverse of black, or kind of the flip side—it’s part of it. Black people in this country have so much deep sensitivity. We know this: People who have been harmed, people who have experienced trauma are very sensitive. And various kinds of reactivity or frustration or capacities for beauty and creativity are functions of sensitivity.

The expectation that we be calm and erudite and quote-unquote civilized—those expectations are about other people’s fears. If you actually grappled with how awful it is to have treated people like property for so long, you’d have to deal with all of this anger and pain and sadness and frustration and confusion. And so instead, you try to tamp it down—from everybody, and in particular from Black folks.

Pink is an expression of that sensitivity, the power of that, and how scary it is. These guts are just always showing, just out and exposed to the world. How painful that is, that level of being exposed and sensitive. And how powerful it can be—to consistently be like a lightning rod.”

These comments came from a Black artist explaining her choice of color in an art installation. I read it in a cursory way until I got to this segment toward the end and reread it, thinking of my wife. The day I read it she was going into surgery to get a knee replaced. Whenever she has medical treatments, procedures, or, most importantly, diagnoses, prognoses and medications, I urge her to remind doctors that she picked cotton as a child in fields sprayed with DDT and never saw a doctor until she was an adult. Most prominently, the trip from Texas to Arizona as well as the work in the fields, so traumatized her she tears up just describing it. It was 72 years ago. 

That is the negative part of this. The positive is her acute observation of settings, scenes and people. We were just talking about this as we watched the mob storming the Capitol. She notices things that escape the notice of most observers. She puts two and two together to see if it adds up to four or to something else. A pertinent example is the way everyone talked about the mob finding offices that people who worked there could not find if they tried; the mob knew just where to go. A very liberal friend said it was just because there were so many people in the building they filled all the spaces. No. They knew just where to go. It was obvious from the videos that there were assault units within the mob and knowledgeable people pointed to their manner of movement that mimicked those of highly trained military. 

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