In the Hood – 2014
They want to take America back?
At what cost?
In the Hood exploits the KKK’s symbol of racism in America.
According to Wikipedia, “the Ku Klux Klan informally known as the Klan or the “Hooded Order”, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism ” such as lynching and cross burning. In the 1860’s members adopted white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities.
Through socio-political satire, the multimedia installation alludes to the irrationality of America’s nouveau KKK (a vocal extreme right faction of the new Tea Party) and its rise to the mainstream with its shameless, divisive rhetoric and obsession with race, blame, and hyperbole. In the Hood contrasts elements of the defiant, ever present, mocked, ridiculed, yet copied Hip Hop culture, with the phenomena of new emerging Tea Party. The farcical parody is the juxtaposition of this unlikely pair. The union weds the KKK with the very culture it may hate so much, thus becoming perhaps its metaphorical worst nightmare.
Outside the hood
In the Hood consisted of a 20 foot tall oversized, collapsible Klan hood suspended from the ceiling.
The outside of the hood was a Flava Flav inspired ghetto fabulous 5 foot in diameter gold, diamond encrusted Mercedes medallion with a thick gold chain as it’s necklace. The three points of the Mercedes symbol has K’s at each point .
Three ghetto blinged-out Tea Party clocks randomly hung to beckon the viewer to approach the free standing structure. Two slits for eyes allowed the viewer to take a sneak peek of the interior of the hood.
Inside the hood
Viewers entered from the rear to see the Victorian inspired, bustled tea bagger gown adorned with over 1000 Black Tea bags. The gown sat on a steamer trunk inspired platform.
Hottentot Venus (African women who is said to have been mocked and ridiculed, yet inspired the Victorian Bustle dress) Historical images become post marks on the trunk as they reference a journey, suggesting how far we have come and questioning how far we have to go regarding race relations in America (image to come).
Minstral dolls (black faced white dolls) incorporated in the scarf hang around the neck of the figure suggesting an Albatross weight or burden around the neck of the wearer. Similar dolls peek from the ruffled hem of the gown as they allude to the ubiquitous nature of and influence of black traditions on world culture.
The objective of this work was to encourage thought and consideration of ideas. How do the elements of this exhibit make you feel? Do they make you feel happy? Sad? Angry? Ashamed? The exhibit invited the viewer to cross over, to engage with one another as well as the work. It invited us to open our minds and our hearts and to seek our personal truth.
For instance, the Tea Party, the grassroots movement committed to reining in what they perceive as big government, and fiscal irresponsibility, but they also appear predisposed to intolerance.
Of white Tea Party Members:
- 35% believe Blacks to be hardworking
- 45 % believe Blacks are intelligent
- 41% think that Blacks are trustworthy
Perceptions of Latinos aren’t much different:
- 54% of White Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be hardworking
- 44% think them intelligent
- 42% of Tea Party supporters believe Latinos to be trustworthy
And an intolerance towards gays and lesbians:
- 36% think gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to adopt children,
- 17% are in favor of same-sex marriage.
In an article written by Krissah Thompson a Washington Post Staff Writer, entitled NAACP Backs Report that Ties Racist Groups to the Tea Party, she revealed a report by IREHR (Institution for Research & Education on Human Rights) Fall, 2010. The report, called Tea Party Nationalism reported the Tea Party uses news articles, visits to white nationalist web sites and observance of tea party functions and the report claims that tea party events have become a forum for extremists “hoping to push these (white) protesters toward a more self-conscious and ideological white supremacy.”
US News and World Report
On October 5, 2011, US News and World Report conducted a poll of Americans on the Tea Party and asked the question:
Is the Tea Party Racist?
- Yes – 30.45%
- No – 69.55%
A Washington Post/ABC News poll released earlier this year found that 35 percent of strong tea party backers said they believed Obama was born in another country. The same percentage of conservative Republicans agreed.
The poll also found that supporters and opponents of the tea party are worlds apart on the question of what motivates the movement. Fifty-seven percent of people who oppose the tea party suspect its members of racial prejudice. That declined to a quarter of those who are neutral toward the movement, and 10 percent of tea party supporters considered prejudice as a motivation.
Speaking with Piers Morgan on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, actor Morgan Freeman accused the Tea Party of being driven by racism.
“The Tea Partyers who are controlling the Republican Party … their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What underlines that? Screw the country. We are going to do … whatever we can to get this black man out of here.” Pressed by Piers Morgan, he insisted, “It is a racist thing.” Freeman continued, “It just shows the weak, dark underside of America.”
In the Hood was been funded in part by a 2010 grant from the Pollock Krasner Foundation.