“You’re in a very fortunate position,” he said. “The diversity thing, it’s all anyone cares about now. You have a real advantage.”
He wasn’t wrong but he wasn’t right either. Sitting next to him, I was tempted to remind him that any so-called advantage comes off the back of an immense, sustained attack on the same communities. That to have attention given to your art – which is by no means guaranteed, it’s mostly ignored anyway – because of the degree to which your community is being oppressed is gross. It’s an inherently dehumanising framework. I was tempted to remind him that tokenism works hand in hand with oppression. This is one of many reasons the work of a marginalised artist goes so much beyond their art: you have to stand within the narrow band of one spotlight and while there build as many lights as you can so you can be seen as fully human, and to shine it on as many others as possible.
Omar J. Sakr on “advantage“.