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Sun Jan 20, 2013, 06:54 PM

 

NJ library displays drawing of slave having sex (with white man)

Source: Associated Press

A library that covered up a drawing of a black female slave having sex with a white man after workers found it inappropriate is displaying it again.

The drawing, created by black artist Kara Walker, shows the horrors many blacks faced after the Civil War and during reconstruction and includes a depiction of a slave performing oral sex. It initially was hung during Thanksgiving in the Newark Public Library's second-floor reference room, but officials reluctantly covered it with a cloth after one day because some workers complained it was insensitive.

The Star-Ledger newspaper reported Sunday that library officials and staffers have since met to discuss the drawing and decided it could be uncovered.

Library employee Kendell Willis told the newspaper that he had a better understanding of the library officials' position after the meeting.

"They said there are a lot of things in artwork we don't want to talk about, and that made absolute sense," he said.


Read more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gmzs8VJ28213FGBCTJJLgB4gfh-A?docId=dd3133c4aac049239be3ca1bc98d769b

30 replies, 7376 views

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Reply NJ library displays drawing of slave having sex (with white man) (Original post)
michigandem58 Jan 2013 OP
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #1
CaliforniaPeggy Jan 2013 #3
knitter4democracy Jan 2013 #14
lunatica Jan 2013 #2
PSPS Jan 2013 #4
SoapBox Jan 2013 #7
fasttense Jan 2013 #25
cosmicone Jan 2013 #10
Third Doctor Jan 2013 #5
Moonwalk Jan 2013 #8
Drunken Irishman Jan 2013 #6
ReRe Jan 2013 #9
XemaSab Jan 2013 #11
Skittles Jan 2013 #12
MrSlayer Jan 2013 #15
Skittles Jan 2013 #18
MrSlayer Jan 2013 #20
Skittles Jan 2013 #21
MrSlayer Jan 2013 #22
Skittles Jan 2013 #24
Ian David Jan 2013 #27
booley Jan 2013 #13
bemildred Jan 2013 #16
Tom Ripley Jan 2013 #17
uriel1972 Jan 2013 #19
alphafemale Jan 2013 #23
Ian David Jan 2013 #26
samsingh Jan 2013 #28
left coaster Jan 2013 #29
Brigid Jan 2013 #30

Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 07:00 PM

1. The article's headline should say RAPE

Having sex is consensual, forced sex is rape.

I can see both sides of showing it, but I lean towards not displaying it quite so prominently, because it is a public library with minors.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 07:09 PM

3. It's not prominent at all.

This is where it was hung, per the article:

after being hung in the second-floor reference room.

I can see your point if it had been hung in the lobby, but it wasn't.



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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:01 PM

14. My first thought as well.

That wasn't sex. That was rape.

Slaves, by definition, cannot give full consent. Idiot journalist.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 07:02 PM

2. American history has been so whitewashed

What we're taught is about how great and wonderful and what a great country this is and how everyone is free and has equal opportunities. The truth is far from that. We have many things hidden in our Shadow Side. We've learned a lot of things in these last couple of years about what really goes on.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 07:10 PM

4. The actual drawing is contained in the real source for this story

http://blog.nj.com/njv_barry_carter/2013/01/library_painting_controversy_i.html

Even the NJ Star Ledger coddles the pearl clutchers with, "Editor's note: The artwork, which can be seen lower in this column, may be offensive to some readers."

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Response to PSPS (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 07:33 PM

7. Ohhhh....

thanks for posting that link, with the actual drawing.

It's MUCH different than my mind was making out....MUCH different. Just looking at the drawing, I get the point that the artist was trying to make and how it "depicts the horrors of reconstruction, 20th-century Jim Crowism and the hooded figures of the Ku Klux Klan..."

The Pearl Clutchers seem to be the library workers.

And to think...there was a brand new topless dancer "gentleman's" club that just opened in our area (another one!) with a HUGE sign that is almost right on the freeway.

What a contrast of brains...telling truth about our past (and not wanting it told?) vs. the boys just have'n a little fun when they go out.

...whiplash.

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Response to SoapBox (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 11:04 AM

25. I find the saying "clutching pearls" to be sexists.

I don't blame you. It is frequently used here on DU.

If a woman does not agree with someone's more liberal sexual expressions they are labeled pearl clutchers. As if she is too sensitive and prudish; living in a wealthy protected society she is unaware of real sexual passion.

I rarely hear this term used to disparage men.

How dare any woman object to (usually) a man's sexual objectification of women? Any woman who disagrees is labeled a pearl clutcher.

Still I don't find the drawing objectionable. I find slavery and Jim Crow objectionable because of among other things, women got raped.

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Response to PSPS (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 08:31 PM

10. The art is amazing

It has the quality of Picasso's "Guernica" which depicts the horrors of the spanish civil war.

I see no reason to cover it up.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 07:22 PM

5. I think this should be in a museum more than in a Public Library but that's just my

opinion.

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Response to Third Doctor (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 07:34 PM

8. I agree. Museums are places for works of art like this--political, historic, controversial...

...or otherwise. And this is a work of art as much as it is a horrific commentary. It should be in a place where it can be properly displayed, seen and discussed. In a library such works of art get lost and not seen, even when there is no opposition to them.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 07:22 PM

6. Won't somebody please think of the children?!

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 08:26 PM

9. Was it an original? donated by the artist?

...sorry, I didn't read the whole article...only as far as the painting. Had the article not said where it was in the painting, I wouldn't have even noticed it. Wonder if it's a large painting? If it's a small framed painting, a child might not even know what's going on in the painting. On the other hand, if it's a large painting, is an original donated by the artist, I would call the artist and ask for permission to donate or sell it to a local museum. Newark, NJ must have a Museum. If the museum pays for it, then give the money to the Library's Friends Organization. Whatever they do with it, it's an issue that should never have been made public If the library doesn't have policy written about this type of situation, then maybe they need to get one in the policy book that governs donations of Art. IMHO...

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 09:41 PM

11. Having seen the painting, a kid too little to know what's going on

is too little to know about *ALL* the horrors of slavery, but a kid old enough to look at the picture and say "Dude, she's sucking that guy's dick!" is old enough to know about how craptastic slavery really was.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 09:44 PM

12. I would have bit that thing clean off

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Response to Skittles (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:20 PM

15. Easy to say.

 

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:47 PM

18. a guy pawed me once

I smashed a stapler in his face, leaving him with broken nose and teeth....it's not just "easy to say"

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Response to Skittles (Reply #18)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 02:02 AM

20. You didn't watch the bit I'm guessing.

 

You wouldn't have had much of a choice in the matter. The slaves were beaten down and conditioned to obey. There wasn't a whole lot of fighting back going on.

Good for you for standing up for yourself in this reality though.

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 02:11 AM

21. cannot watch

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Response to Skittles (Reply #21)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 02:22 AM

22. Ah, it's a funny clip from Eddie Murphy's "Delirious" stand up.

 

He talks about how brothers of today act like they couldn't have been slaves and would tell the master to fuck off and he says yeah, the first guy off the boat tried that shit, got his ass whipped and everyone else was like "hey, I'll bail that cotton bud, keep that whip off me."

Obviously it's much, much funnier and filled out the way he does it but the point is the same.

People like to think in today's terms about past events. The threat of real, serious pain keeps people in line. They would never consider not blowing the master, let alone biting him.

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #22)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 04:49 AM

24. I did not mean to imply what slaves would / should have done

I was speaking solely for myself

CLEAN.OFF.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 10:08 PM

13. shame they can't show the nicer side of slavery

.. admittedly I have no idea what that nicer side would look like.

Maybe something with a cartoon rabbit and fox.

You know, something besides reality.



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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:24 PM

16. Lying enslaves, the truth sets us free.

And that picture is the truth.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 11:43 PM

17. That's not a very good likeness of Strom Thurmond

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 01:45 AM

19. Looking at the picture

I realise that the rape is only part of the picture of Horrors, not the focus as I first thought. Also looking at the picture it is difficult to work out what is going on if you don't already know about oral sex.

Due to the atrocities contained I am not sure I would put it in the lobby, but the second floor reference room seems an appropriate place.

If the history of slavery and race relations makes the workers uncomfortable then so be it. It is a vital part of history and essential to understand in order to understand how the US is what it is today.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 04:14 AM

23. Often rape.Mutual attraction every now and again.

Yet...still. They'd sell their own children away. That thought makes my blood run cold.

And then there are the times that people weren't sold away. And there were these odd inter- meshed, not dared spoken of...families. Can you even imagine the cutting glances between a wife and mistress? Her children are in your house too and your children prefer her because she nursed them and chewed up food for them? It's OK though. They'll learn social order soon enough.

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 11:21 AM

26. The oral sex depiction may be uncomfortable, but it's about as explicit as this one...





Here is the painting in question...


Kara Walker's drawing depicts the horrors of reconstruction, 20th-century Jim Crowism and the hooded figures of the Ku Klux Klan, but the part that has some Library workers upset is the depiction of oral sex on the right.
http://blog.nj.com/njv_barry_carter/2013/01/library_painting_controversy_i.html#incart_river

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 11:48 AM

28. is this not bringing attention to the horrors that were inflicted by the ass... slave owners?

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Mon Jan 21, 2013, 11:52 AM

29. Rape. A horror that women of all colors, still face. Every day on this planet. nt

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Response to michigandem58 (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:06 AM

30. In our state museum . . .

We have on display a KKK hood and robe. Some objected, but the museum argues that this state was a huge hotbed of Klan activity (some parts still are), and there is no use denying it.

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