Looking for woman of color

Added: Natonya Glazer - Date: 27.01.2022 22:57 - Views: 42024 - Clicks: 5923

Looking for woman of color

What does that mean in the context of this field-wide mandate of change? How would it sit in my body and what is the exposure that leadership involves? I wanted to have that conversation with folks who are going through it, and with you specifically, as you recently ed the acting faculty at the Yale School of Drama. I am so deeply inspired by your leadership, which has been a long time coming. How are you navigating? What does it mean to be in those spaces where the architecture is changing in terms of people? How do you actually bring cultural change as you encounter resistance—often by the very folks or institutions who are there to lift you?

Nicole Brewer: I appreciate this effort to connect back to our bodies as people with a certain set of lived experiences coming into this work. I am not above the pain and suffering I live with and through every day. I am also navigating analyses of institution, racism, gender, body, life experience, and self-determination within the positionality of leadership and creating the container for folks to be present in the fullness of themselves. How do we, as leaders, do that? I was trained not to question the training. I believe it was Stella Adler who brought a throne-like chair into the classroom.

Sophia: I have also refused to name someone in my training experience. The person who took my time is not credited in any of my narrative. I do not include that person. Nicole: There are many other ways. And, therefore, what are the questions and analyses they have? What are they actually able to hear in the moment? What about people who are in a place of study who are dealing with issues of their sexuality or issues around their gender?

Representation is an important factor, as is space to unpack how identities inform your craft. How does training provide that? How do curriculums support the most impacted folks? How do cross-cultural curriculums become the norm? Sophia: Being open and finding ways to connect—that is a skill set, a muscle I have developed through my journey as an artist.

That can be the way to fuel training. Where I have experienced marginalization, as a woman, as an Asian American, as a daughter of immigrants, there is also insight, power, points of connection though the violence of assimilation has threatened to erase my superpowers.

Looking for woman of color

Those are the things I can offer—as a teacher, a creative artist, and citizen—which I can take from marginalized spaces and reclaim as center. The challenges she describes are so intimate yet systemic. So, in my new situation, what can I do to interrupt that and also stay sane?

Photo courtesy of Sophia Skiles. Not selfishly, but I was literally asking myself, How much can I do for my beloved community right now before the winds change and folks are onto something else and have completely forgotten the work of this moment? The stage of undoing? Or is it at the stage of rooting new structures, which requires a radical amount of effort and energy from everybody?

Looking for woman of color

People have to be conscious about new rooting. Where are the anti-racist, anti-oppressive practices, strategies, policies, ideas, ways of being? When do those become self-sustaining so that people can come and go but the anti-racist structures remain?

Because with racism, even if everybody behaving badly left, the structure is so normalized it persists. People pick it back up. Sophia: Can I just appreciate a million things? One: the separation of self and institution. I am not the institution in ways that traditional leadership has performed itself—the notion that the leader is the embodiment of the institution, the vision, almost by force of personality. Whereas I am still myself. I made myself before, during, and after. I want to hold onto that as much as I possibly can. That is a gift I can hold onto and give, that no one is defined by what they are working on or if they are working.

I wonder what that would do in terms of liberating myself from the things that would do me harm. But look, I want to be the free person that I wish myself to be—and I want the students and colleagues with whom I work to be the free people, the free artists, they have a right to be. I am more brazen about asking for what I need. Nicole: One thing I made very clear before I accepted my current position was divorcing the Yale School of Drama as currency. The same for the students. How are students making sure they have an analysis so they can move in choice, instead of having these unstated assumptions, which are accepted as truth, driving how they show up?

For example, if someone was part of the most impacted Black and Brown communities and was accepted into a theatre program, they might think the program was ready for them to be there. But that person then finds out, through many instances of erasure, tokenism, and overt and covert racism, that the program brought them into a culture that harms them in order to train them. Before making a decision I ask: Which part of this interaction is being subsidized with the institution as currency?

Which part of this is the fear that I will never be able to have this opportunity again? I also feel really deeply the pressure of representation. I was wagering my own personal relationships with folks in a way that no one else in the organization had to. And yet, I think representation is one first step.

I feel a psychic cost connected to that. Just like truth has a vibration, harm does not just go to the person who it was intended for but actually impacts everything. How does that become an inherited part of leadership when you come into a place that is tender, that is still very raw and wounded? How are we looking at their resolutions from past harm? Do people actually feel like those resolutions attended to their needs, even in hindsight?

But there are some people who immediately experience me as part of the organization. There is no delineation of past organization to present organization. There will be people who will meet you where you are now, and there will be other people who will connect you to what was.

I am imagining acting training that involves power with folks, while so much of what has been inscribed in our bodies is how to create by having power over each other. Sophia: Yes. They see the power and not the person. And that power is now embodied by a woman of color. It can be deeply confusing. Stepping into these roles and moving into these institutional spaces opens up a deeply vulnerable moment because someone is actually attending to the thing.

What does it mean to hold someone new responsible for something historical? I want to enter into power differently. I want to understand what it means to have shared leadership. I want to underscore, underline, put in eighty-point font and in bold: What does it mean to be a woman of color and in leadership? Is the hiring organization even ready to be led by such a human being?

When with other bodies, specifically white bodies, that respect is a given? They are setting themselves up for some really harsh realities around who they thought they were versus what they do. Photo by Scott Suchman. Chances are this is going to be different. It has to be. Nicole: Absofuckinglutely. Carmen Morgan, executive director of artEquitysaid that the white body is not neutral, and people need an analysis of that as a real variable in their day-to-day existence. Where am I constricting in these moments?

I want to talk about consensual relationships and how that comes in to play in terms of leadership. There is a violation that happens when folks do not have an awareness around the impact they bring into any space. I encourage people to do the bare minimum work, making sure they are not allowing buzzwords or a feeling that they are an ally shield them from harm they are inflicting on others.

Sophia: There are scripts around that particular dynamic of how folks of color, women of color, Black women, Asian women, are used for those purposes. That when all is said and done in this position, I am reinscribing my own oppression, and because of my positionality in the role, there appears to be some consent. I want to vision something different where I can exist inside of an acting studio that is not dependent on those dynamics of approval or permission. What would that look like? My job is to create the conditions where students can experience their full dignity, that they create from a sense of non-negotiable worth.

How can I be of service in that process for students? That is what I would have wanted for myself, but I found it in different ways, in-between more formal spaces. Theatre quit me. And as volatile and violent as this political moment is, it feels right and necessary that these changes in leadership are in response to, are of a piece of, this moment.

These cultural changes should carry that kind of weight. These changes are political acts! It makes me long for the way in which I want to be represented by my elected officials. I wonder what it would be like to be an acting teacher who works as a public servant in that way. Speak clearly and straightforwardly about the gaps and the subsidies that are being asked of your body. We welcome everybody. Sophia: I so value lifting the veil with you. I support your self-preservation so deeply.

Looking for woman of color

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