Alex Delotch Davis is manager of marketing for the High Museum of Art and the mother of two girls, Quincy and Chelsea. She has a B.S. in finance from North Carolina A&T State University and an M.A. from SCAD in luxury management. She also runs a digital media company called Gallerie 88 where she celebrates Black artists in global fashion, fine art and design. (Photo by Ahmad Barber )
I come from a very big family in a very Black city, Baltimore. My grandmother was a professional chef who wrote a weekly culinary column for The Afro, the longest-running African American newspaper in the U.S. I danced in Black dance troupes and performed in Black community theater. I recited Nikki Giovanni poems and got to meet her when I was in middle school. Family trips to AFRAM (African-American Festival) and live shows at Arena Players were summertime rituals. My mother was very intentional about instilling cultural pride and awareness: introducing me to Ladysmith Black Mambazo or taking me to hear Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu give a lecture.
I was frequently the only Black girl in classrooms filled with white students, and fully aware of the impact of racism on my community and city. Yet these circumstances never diminished my sense of cultural pride, nor my desire to be seen. So when a white coworker told me that she wanted to raise her child to be “color-blind,” it hit me in a way I could not quite articulate. I felt a pang of offense because the notion of teaching a child to be “color-blind” was tantamount to teaching the child not to see me, my daughters or any person of color. It was as if she wanted to erase the inconvenience of my Black existence and relegate it to a historical fact that was not useful to her, her child or maybe even to me. It also felt like a vague note to me, to leave my Black self at home.
I do not want her to be color-blind. I do not want her children to be color-blind. I want her to be fully sighted and see Black people as complete in tragedy and in triumph. I want her to see me, the way I see myself: proud of my culture, my family and my history. I want her to know that I had no shame for her to assuage by not acknowledging my Blackness.
Everything about my experience makes me who I am, and I am only interested in people who want to see me in full. As more BIPOC speak truth to power, I hope others will be sensitized to their implicit biases, encouraged to move out of their comfort zones and feel inspired to see what they’ve been taught to ignore.
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