I am proud of my Pinterest boards and I pore over them. I think it’s feeding a similar impulse to the vast collections of stickers I would see girls in my grade school amass, huge books filled with adhesive dreams and wishes, aspirations and goals, fantasies and fancies, ready to apply. It can feel obsessive too, as I am merely the custodian of these images, not the creator of them, not the subject of them, but essentially, the janitor of them, and sweeping them all into the corner of the internet, I see them together for the first time.
I have trolled websites to find pictures that affected my worldview, which burned indelible into my mind and churned in me as I grew. As I see them all now dumped into this psychic dustbin, I find that it’s almost entirely white folks. I hadn’t had awareness of this before – that I had relied on one race so heavily to understand life. Coming to know what my tastes and preferences were, excavating my mind’s own archeology, I hadn’t seen how racially biased the source because I hadn’t thought to look. I had nothing to compare myself to. I had no idea of race and perceived all from a bubble of isolation. My parents worked mostly, and much of my youth was spent alone waiting for them. I watched television and ignored the sounds in the cellar and attic and thought about Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie endlessly.
If you never see yourself in the media, and you are conditioned to invisibility to the point where you never even try to seek yourself, what does that do to the spirit? I am only just finding out now. I’m putting up pictures of Nancy Kwan and Tina Turner on my boards but women of color are rare butterflies. I can’t pin them down as readily and I don’t like this but this is how the world is made. How do I overcome racial disparity when it exists in my mind? Do I not even exist inside myself?