Adrian Piper : Think About It


The voices (and works) of the past are coming in strong and are louder than ever. Everything that is happening today, the unrest and the breakthroughs, are built on the persistent work of those that proceeded it. We have so many to thank.

Adrian Piper, Thank you for the work you have made since the 1960s. Thank you for who you’ve been and for who you continue to be. Your presence is powerful and your contribution is beyond measure.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York held a major career retrospective for Adrian Piper in 2018, the largest show ever for a living artist. And the Hammer Museum is Los Angeles, known for its permanent collection of historical art presented a 50 year survey of her work. But the artist they were praising declined the invitation to attend. Piper was not present for the exhibitions, because she refused to return to the United States. Not even the holy grail of art world honors could bring her back.

photo of adrian piper


An American conceptual artist and philosopher, Adrian Piper’s work addresses professional ostracism, otherness, racial passing, and racism by using various traditional and non-traditional media to provoke self-analysis. Piper was born in New York City on September 20, 1948. She received a master’s in philosophy from Harvard University in 1977 and her doctorate in 1981. In the 1970’s she was kicked out of the art world for her race and sex. Her work started to address attitudes around racism, intending to help people confront their racist views.

Piper taught at Wellesley College, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and University of California, San Diego. In 1991, she became the first female African-American philosophy professor to receive academic tenure in the United States. Wellesley College terminated her tenured full professorship in 2008. During that time she was on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration Watch List. In 2015, she was awarded the Golden Lion for best artist in the international exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Adrian Piper currently lives in Berlin, Germany.

Whut choo Adrian Piper

Image: Adrian Piper, Self-Portrait as a Nice White Lady, 1995

Adrian Piper_Everything 2.8_2003

Image: Everything #2.8, Adrian Piper, 2003


Image: Everything #2.13, Adrian Piper, 2003

Video: Keynote speaker Jörg Heiser, on the work of Adrian Piper

The following images and text are works and words of Adrian Piper.


Image: Decide Who You Are #1, Adrian Piper, 1992


Image: Detail from “Everything #21, Adrian Piper, 2010-13


Image: Pretend #3, Adrian Piper, 1990 “Pretend not to know what you know”


Adrian_Piper Art

Images: Close to Home, 2 of 15 photographs, Adrian Piper, 1987


pretend adrian piper

1991 adrian piper

Image: Pretend #2, Adrian Piper, 1990 “Pretend not to know what you know”


Image: Think About It, Adrian Piper, 1987, mock-up for billboard design


Image: Adrian Piper, Catalysis IV, 1970. Photographer Rosemary Mayer



Image: My Calling Card #1 and #2, Adrian Piper (1986-1990)

Adrian Piper Portrait


Image: The Mythic Being: Say It Like You Mean It, Adrian Piper, 1975

“I am identified as “black” by others, both “black” and “white,” only when this serves to enhance their own social status, and not otherwise. Identifying myself as “black” had also very often served this function for me. I had regarded it as an honor and a privilege to be counted among the members of a community that had proved its mettle, its intelligence, and its genius by surviving and sometimes flourishing amid the most resourceful and sustained effort to destroy its humanity the world has ever seen.”

Adrian_Piper_Mother copy

Image: I Am Some Body, the Body of My Friends, #1-18, 1992-95, 1 of 18 photographs. Photo of Adrian Piper and her mother, when she was suffering from emphysema, towards the end of her life.

Adrian Piper safe 1990

Image: Safe #1–4, Adrian Piper (1990) “We are around you”


Image: Safe, 1 of 4 framed photographs and audio, Adrian Piper, 1990 “You are safe”

black artist adrian piper

“I’m black.

Now, let’s deal with this social fact, and the fact of my stating it, together.

Maybe you don’t see why we have to deal with it together. Maybe you think it’s just my problem and that I should deal with it by myself.

But it’s not just my problem. It’s our problem.”



Filed under art & film, human rights

Love Is Love!


Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 2.49.42 AM








“No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us”, are the powerful words of Micah Bazant, that are linked to the spirit of Marsha P. Johnson.

Illustration of Marsha P. Johnson by @beeillustrates


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People Are Showing Up & Speaking Out

say black lives matter

2020 protests

black lives matter protest

Maria Shriver protesting for Black Lives Matter.

maria shriver black lives matter

“So many people have said to me in the past few weeks that they feel helpless and don’t know what to do or say. I tell them what I tell myself: When you lay there in bed in the dark of night, imagine the country you want to live in. Imagine the leaders you want to rally around. Imagine the ideas that make you feel hopeful. Imagine your best-case scenario. Then, pick a lane and get to work.

Do you want a better climate? Get to work. Do you want to fight against racism? Get to work. Do you want to push for gender equality? Get to work. Do you want to close the gap in health care disparities? Get to work. Do you want a different kind of media? Get to work. Do you want criminal justice or police reform? New gun laws? Mental health parity? A more inclusive church? You know what to do.

The work ahead of us is not for the faint of heart. Every one of us must put on our thinking caps and imagine a more evolved, inclusive, and equitable world. Yes, there is a lot to do, but that is not an excuse to do nothing.”

Quote by Maria Shriver

Natalie Portman shares thoughts on defunding the police.

natalie portman black lives matter

“When I first heard #defundthepolice, I have to admit my first reaction was fear. My whole life, police have made me feel safe. But that’s exactly the center of my white privilege: the police make me as a white woman feel safe, while my black friends, family and neighbors feel the opposite: police make them feel terror. And for good reason. Police are the 6th leading cause of death for black men in this country. These are not isolated incidents. They are patterns and part of the system of over-policing of black Americans. Reforms have not worked. Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, is one of the most progressive police forces in the country, having undergone extensive anti-bias training. I am grateful to the leaders in the @mvmnt4blklives who have made us question the status quo. And who have made us imagine, what a world could be like in which we invested in nourishing people; (in their education, healthcare, environment, shelter)— rather than putting all of our money into punishment. I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong. But this concept initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong.”

Quote by Natalie Portman

Seth Godin shines a light on white supremacy.

seth godin black lives matter

“The systemic, cruel and depersonalizing history of Black subjugation in my country has and continues to be a crime against humanity. It’s based on a desire to maintain power and false assumptions about how the world works and how it can work. It’s been amplified by systems that were often put in place with mal-intent, or sometimes simply because they felt expedient. It’s painful to look at and far more painful to be part of or to admit that exists in the things that we build.

We can’t permit the murder of people because of the color of their skin. Institutional racism is real, it’s often invisible, and it’s pernicious.

And White Supremacy is a loaded term precisely because the systems and their terrible effects are very real, widespread and run deep.

The benefit of the doubt is powerful indeed, and that benefit has helped me and people like me for generations. I’m ashamed of how we got here, and want to more powerfully contribute and model how we can get better, together.

It doesn’t matter how many blog posts about justice I write, or how clear I try to be about the power of diversity in our organizations. Not if I’m leaving doubt about the scale and enormity of the suffering that people feel, not just themselves, but for their parents before them and for the kids that will follow them.

It’s easier to look away and to decide that this is a problem for someone else. It’s actually a problem for all of us. And problems have solutions and problems are uncomfortable.”

Quote by Seth Godin

Illustrations by Meenal Patel Studio

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Current Mood

black lives matter

I love this cartoon by one of my favorite artists, Elisabeth McNair. It definitely represents my current mood.

For anyone that missed last week’s blog post, you can click here. As a continuation of that blog post, I wanted to add a little information about defunding the police. It’s the latest hot topic, and it’s not as scary or drastic as some people think. I see so many people reacting to the idea negatively that haven’t researched it. They are reacting to something they don’t understand. It simply means shifting some of the police budget into social services.

Below are examples of how New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are already moving in that direction.

The Los Angeles Police Department was set to receive a large increase in its annual budget from $1.189 billion last year to $1.86 billion (most of the budget increases were for new police bonuses) for 2020-2021. Mayor Eric Garcetti has now decided to cut $100-$150 million from that budget to invest in youth jobs and health initiatives that serve the community.

Mayor London Breed announced that San Francisco officers will stop responding to non-criminal activities such as disputes between neighbors, reports about homeless people and school discipline interventions as part of a police reform plan. Officers would be replaced by trained, unarmed professionals to limit unnecessary confrontation between the police department and the community.

In New York, more than 40 city council candidates are calling for a $1 billion cut to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget over four years to help fund other programs such as the city’s summer youth employment program. New York state Senator Julia Salazar said, “I think we need to consider a divest/invest model. When we look at their resources, and how they’re deploying them violently and recklessly, it makes the case even stronger for reducing their budget, and then using those funds for social services…”

Think about it this way, what are your values? Do you want to invest in youth jobs, community centers, rehabilitation programs and health services? Or more policing, and continuing with what is in place currently that obviously isn’t working? Which plan sounds like a sensible and sustainable approach to you?

(The topic continues in the comment section below.)


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Meet The New YOU?

self accountability

Much of what I say will be explained the further (and deeper) you go in this blog post. If you decide to gloss over content and suggested watching/reading, then don’t wonder why you are remaining the same while the world is on fire begging for change around you.

Don’t miss the point of what’s happening. Don’t be imperceptive, indifferent or passive out of laziness and convenience (and conditioned heartlessness). If what is happening isn’t a wake up call that you need to do more, then expect all of this to get worse, because you stayed complacent.

Keep reading, keep going…

Victor Varnado

Have you or anyone you know, or anyone in your social media circles said something similar to the statements below? If so, please click on the links next to each sentence. Your environment desperately needs empathy, education and your personal accountability towards change.

“All Lives Matter.”
(read this, scroll down on that website to see article)

“I don’t see color. Everyone is equal.”
(watch this)

“The Black Lives Matter movement is dividing people.”
(same video as above)

“Black people are making it harder for themselves by looting.”
(see Trevor Noah video and other videos below)

“Why should I help anyone that’s rioting or destroying property?”
(see Trevor Noah video and other videos below)

“The riots and violent protests are messing up the next election!”
(read article, and watch video, and read article)

“How irresponsible to gather and protest during a pandemic.”
(watch the same video)

“If blacks would focus on voting, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
(watch the Christian Cooper video below and this video again)

“Thank goodness everything is fine where I live.”
(see this video)

Trevor Noah has a profound view of looting and explains the context of the protests. Cornel West also mentioned legalized looting (video posted throughout this post), and Bakari Sellers clearly states that the protests are beyond George Floyd and police brutality.

Keep reading, keep going…

This is Christian Cooper speaking. He’s the one that Amy Cooper (same last name, not related) tried to harm by using the police as a weapon. If you need more information, you can find it here and a great article here. Turn up the volume when you watch the video. The sound is low. Tap the sound icon at the bottom of the video to raise the volume.

Keep reading, keep going…

I want you to watch this video of Trevor Noah in South Africa, visiting his 91 year old grandmother. He’s going to make light of things, but obviously it’s not funny. Jokes are often used as a way to release anguish and optimistically move forward. What you see in South Africa is not much different than how marginalized people live in many parts of the USA currently.

Keep reading, keep going…

If for any reason you are still not passionate about using your voice and time and resources to help Black Lives Matter and ending systemic racism. Please think of George Stinney and Kendrick Johnson, and all of the other gruesome injustices that continue day after day. It’s a longer list than anyone can imagine.

In 2013 a 17 year old Georgia boy was killed at school, his body was found in a rolled up gym mat. The evidence was covered up and the case was ruled as an accidental death. There’s school security footage of him walking into the school gym, but no footage of him walking out. Crucial security camera footage is missing. There are even organs mysteriously missing from his dead body (so there couldn’t be a full autopsy report). It appears that two white students killed him, and their father (who’s an FBI agent) covered up the evidence, along with white classmates, school staff, the local crime lab, state and federal officials and five agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. You can read about it here and see the Kendrick Johnson video here.

This case is not new, but it shows you how deep social injustice for the black community goes. George Stinney was a 14 year old boy that was sentenced to death in the electric chair for a crime he did not commit. Yes, you read that right. The United States of America executed a child. Who was completely innocent.

George Stinney

Keep reading, keep going…

Young people are facing police brutality during the protests. This girl was shot in the face with a rubber bullet by police while she was protesting this week. Video of it here and here and close-up photo of her face here. A lot of the comments under her photo have been buried and deleted, but when I saw first saw that post on Twitter, a large number of people tweeted that if the police did that to her, then it was justified.

If you want more videos of police brutality during the George Floyd protests, you can find over 600 vides (as of June 7, 2020) in this spreadsheet here.

You can also see a video about Black Lives Matter protestors getting set-up posted by Moby here and Joe Rogan mentioning set-ups here.

It’s no surprise that George Stinney and others were innocent. A study stated that half a million (500,000) people currently in jail have NOT committed a crime.

This is a fact, two-thirds (2/3) of people in jail haven’t been convicted of a crime. Most of those people are in jail because they could not pay bail. If you don’t understand how that all works or makes sense, read and listen to the links provided, and do what you can to help.

You can assist organizations like National Bail Out and Prison Policy Initiative read about about it all here.

Here are a few podcasts that could be helpful:

Justice is America

Serial Podcast – Season 3

black lives matter

And please watch this video. Professor Carol Anderson will fill you in on so much. You’ll see why saying BLACK LIVES MATTER is so important, and you’ll understand why systemic racism and police brutality needs to end NOW. This has all gone on long enough.

And these videos too. Listen to Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Professor Angela Davis and Activist Jane Elliott speak and answer questions.

Keep reading, keep going…

This was posted as a link above, but I hope you paid close attention. It covers so much of what I touched on, but in vivid detail. So I’ll post it here again. Listen to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Dr. Cornel West and Bakari Sellers discuss the nationwide uprising.

Here are ways you can help Black Lives Matter:

Donate to causes that need funding.

Show up to a protests.

Sign petitions.

Say their names.

Show solidarity on social media.

Educate yourself.

Become an antiracist.

Follow black social media content creators.

Support black business owners.

And more.

To be totally transparent, when I say YOU throughout this blog post, I also mean me. The events of this week (the police brutality, people risking their health and life to protest, the riots and set-ups of innocent people, the racist comments everywhere online, as well as the mainstream news’ reinforcement of systematic racism), it all felt like a slap in the face.

I must do more, I must speak up, I must live differently.

Like I said in my blog post last week, “A better world depends on a better collective consciousness. And that depends on each one of us taking responsibility for our part in that collective.”

Please join me. Empathy, education and personal accountability is the route to lasting change.

Black Lives Matter.

Artwork credits:
“Alive” cartoon by artist signed (lower right corner)
“Getting started” cartoon by Victor Varnado
“Self reflection” painting by Paint In Hawaii


Filed under human rights

What You Can Do

what you can do

By now I’m sure everyone is aware of the George Floyd protests that have been taking place. As someone that has participated in social justice protests in New York, I can attest to the dedication and courage it takes to participate. You can literally arrive with peace in your heart and the best intentions, and end up with your life on the line.

Please do not confuse looters with protestors. Looting is not protesting. Anyone that was involved in nefarious activities was not a protestor. (*For additional views on on the protest, as well as looting and rioting, please read my other post.)

Many of the protestors that participated will arrive home safely and others will need some form of legal, financial or medical assistance. Please stand in solidarity with these individuals, as well as the organizations that support them. I’ve listed donation links below by city.

If you are not able to make a donation, please post something supportive on your social media accounts or write a letter to congress. Anything that will raise awareness.

And if you feel unsure about what’s happening, these social media accounts might be of interest to you.

















You are welcome to post additional social media accounts and organizations in the comments.

I’m just encouraging everyone to take some type of positive action. (If they haven’t already done so.)

The world is a very small place. We are all connected. If we ignore, misuse or abuse each other (or the planet) we are only hurting ourselves. Let’s rise to help one another. You have the freedom to do it in your own way.

A better world depends on a better collective consciousness. And that depends on each one of us taking responsibility for our part in that collective. If we want the world to change, we must change first.

Think of new ways to be and new ways to help. The possibilities are endless. And if nothing comes to mind, just support those on the front lines. That’s always a great place to start.

Sending love and support to everyone during this time. I know we’re all hurting in different ways. Let’s continue to be compassionate and courageous, and calm.

Fear, stress and blame is not where we want to focus. I always remind myself of this quote, “Where your attention goes, it grows.” Keep your mind and energy on what the world needs right now.

Empathy, peace, love, creativity, patience, compassion, ingenuity, encouragement, support, healing, well-being, understanding… Let’s root our actions and thoughts in what we need most.

Donating to protestors in Minnesota:

It’s my understating that Minnesota Freedom Fund is fully funded right now and wants donations sent to the following organizations;

Donating to protestors in other cities:


Oakland/San Jose


Chapel Hill












For all the cities I missed, you can check this website and scroll down for a city near you.

And if you need bail support or have questions, you can call the National Lawyers Guild directly 612-444-2654


Filed under activism, community

Batch of James Clear Questions

James Clear Questions

Question that may help reveal the positive side of the current moment:
What does this make possible?

Question with potentially wide-reaching implications:
Can my current habits carry me to my desired future?

Question to help you focus on the highest value tasks:
What is the work that keeps working for you after you’ve completed it?

Question to find work you love:
What do you enjoy refining? (It’s the areas you can’t help yourself from editing and optimizing where you have a long-term advantage.)

Question to consider if you feel stuck:
How long will you put off what you’re capable of doing just to maintain what you’re currently doing?

Question to align your habits with your ultimate vision:
Am I doing this for Present Me or Future Me?

Question for greater awareness:
Whose expectations am I trying to fulfill? My own or those of someone else?

Question that could bring relief:
Who do I know that can help me with this?

Question to help you say no with confidence:
Which projects give me energy? Which projects takes it away?

Question to run your daily decisions through:
Will this cost me time in the future or save me time in the future?

Question that might bring you clarity:
Am I proud of what I am choosing to do?

Question for a broader perspective:
What would 10-year-old me say? What would 80-year-old me say?

Question to help you edit:
Will this matter in six months?

Question for greater insight:
What am I holding on to that I need to let go of this year?


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Wallace Stevens: Priest of the Invisible

Wallace Stevens David Hockney

“There is no wing like meaning.”

“There is nothing in life except what one thinks of it.”

“It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.

“The poet is the priest of the invisible.”

“The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.”

“Of the Surface of Things In my room, the world is beyond my understanding; But when I walk I see that it consists of three or four Hills and a cloud.”

“The way through the world is more difficult to find than the way beyond it.”

“Reality is not what it is. It consists of the many realities which it can be made into.”

“A change of style is a change of meaning.”

They said, “You have a blue guitar You do not play things as they are”. The man replied,”things as they are Are changed upon the blue guitar”.

“It is never the thing but the vision of the thing.”
“Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams And our desires.”

“We say God and the imagination are one… How high that highest candle lights the dark.”

“The fire burns as the novel taught it how.”

All quotes by Wallace Stevens

Artwork by David Hockney

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