Editor's Letter: Beauty
Beauty is only a fraction of today's cultural mindset, but the idea of it is vast, and so natural, old, and engrained in the modern Human. Artwork on a wall, flowers. We recognize beauty everywhere, but we have no way of defining it. Of course, the idea of beauty extends its arms past just artwork, or some color we see growing on a lawn. When we think of beauty, we also think about people- the objective/the subjective, whether the objective even exists ("is this real beauty if someone else sees it differently?"), etc. That tension has haunted the world for years. The art world evolved when different tastes came to play, for example; and if we move past the human's reaction to something physical--recognition of beauty rather than the desire to define it--the SUPERFICIAL becomes involved in nearly everything. It is, after all, the most factual aspect of recognizing beauty; and so it is ironic that, although the superficial involves the least of humanity, it can still drive us to the highest high's and the lowest low's. Why do we carry the burden of unlearning our attachments to things and appearances? Why do we, people, equipped first with emotions and feelings before knowledge of society’s ideals, subtract our own humanity because we are too focused on the LOOK of a thing? Models put faces on the physical ideal, and thus we see them as aliens. The "unattainable" remains unattainable because we perceive it as so, yet we, knowing this, still face the strife of trying to reach it.
July and August's theme is Beauty, yes- but with beauty comes an analysis as to why the superficial and the most objective SOMETHING have the capability to crowd out human nature.
July so far has been a difficult one; and not for me, personally, but for those who lost their families and friends in the blasted murders of Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Philando Castile, Oscar Grant, and more, and for those who fear for their own loved ones as they observe the senselessness behind these deaths. A people should not have to fight for the rights they were already given, and they should certainly not die for them.
I am a non-black PoC. I do not understand the fear that black communities feel after seeing law enforcement workers take lives due to impulse affected by flawed implicit biases... But I will do anything to make your voices heard. The color of your skin should not write your fate. The color of your skin cannot be one's cause to dismiss your LIFE. Hundreds of black lives have been taken as a result of police brutality; for some, it is too easy to forget the cause because of the scattered far and few lost lives that end up on American television. But there are plenty, plenty more on that list. I mourn for these lost innocents and I mourn for the end of our sensitivity to death. How many more black people must die before the silence can be filled, instead, with talk for action? How many more black people must be profiled by their appearances before common knowledge recognizes that these deaths follow a terrifying pattern?
So this issue is about beauty, yes--but it is also about appearances: the goodness of it all, and the worst of it all. Where one's feelings for something intersect with an utter loss of humanity, and how some can quickly lose themselves in their attempts to satisfy instincts based on the superficial.
We will not go forth living in fear. Equity will win.