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PoArtMo 2020: “The Price of a Heartbeat”

Posted on the 22 June 2020 by Cendrinemedia @cendrinemedia

Today, I have decided not to share any of my photos. Instead, I would like to talk to you about something that has weighed heavily on my mind for a while.

A few weeks ago, after yet another senseless death in the Black community in the US, I wanted to express myself. Not because I was surprised by what was going on. I was angry. I was sad. I was tired.

I wondered why, in 2020, many White adults are still unable to have a serious, lasting conversation about racism and discrimination. Why they still cannot accept differences in others. And why their prayers and lame promises like "we need to do better" are no longer enough and acceptable.

After some discussions with close friends, the phrase "the price of a heartbeat" starting popping up in my mind. It became like a chant that quickly turned into a poem. Here it is below.

THE PRICE OF A HEARTBEAT Let me ask you. What's the price of a heartbeat? The heartbeat of skin color. The heartbeat of womanhood. The heartbeat of attraction.  The heartbeat of differences. "Thump thump"  "Thump thump"  "Thump thump"  I will answer.  The price of a heartbeat is the construct we use to avoid facing our fears.  The price of a heartbeat is unhappiness seeking  an audience amidst order. The price of a heartbeat is  teaching ourselves that unkept promises are better than nothing.   "Thump thump"  "Thump thump"  "Thump thump"  The price of a heartbeat is  when we no longer listen. When we talk too much.  When we are blind to bias.  "Thump thump"  "Thump thump"  "Thump thump"  The price of a heartbeat is  the reason why Jim Crow  never died in the first place.  "Thump thump"  "Thump thump"  "Thump thump" No heartbeat is worth three-fifths of another.  Actually, the value of a heartbeat is equal to the amount of self-love  we possess. And that is a simple fact that even hatred cannot deny.©2020 Cendrine Marrouat

While we are busy standing in support of the Black community in the US, which is wonderful, many of us have conveniently forgotten to look at our own backyards. In Canada and France, to talk about countries that I know well, racism and discrimination are still prevalent. But they are insidious and so ingrained in our societies, that even the most well-meaning and caring people can't see them. They may not even understand why some of the words they use or the looks they give can dehumanize someone who is different from them.

How do I know? I still experience discrimination because of my foreign accent (among other things). But it is (absolutely) nothing compared to what many of the non-white people I know go through on a daily basis. Police violence and racial profiling may not be as frequent in Canada, but this (tiny) improvement shouldn't make us forget what still happens here to non-whites and people who are different from what we call the norm.

We need to stop looking at others in fear because they don't meet our expectations. Differences should be celebrated and embraced; they make the world beautiful and interesting.

We need to stop fooling ourselves into believing that things will get better of their own accord. Racism and discrimination are concepts, they do not have the ability to change. Only we do.

We have to learn to love ourselves better. Self-love forces us to embrace and empathize with the world around us. Self-love makes us better people and allows for liberating change to happen.

PoArtMo (Positive Art Month) is in session!

PoArtMo stands for two things: Positive Art Month and Positive Art Moves.

  • Positive Art Month is a month dedicated to positive art. Every June, artists around the world are invited to create and celebrate positive art for 30 days. It can be absolutely anything art related: photography, poetry, short stories, sculptures, drawings, theatre, etc.
  • Positive Art Moves celebrates positivity and inspiration in art all year long.

PoArtMo is open to hobbyist, amateur and professional artists. Artists interested in participating in PoArtMo can do so by heading to this link to find out more, along with submissions opportunities for a PoArtMo Contest and a PoArtMo Anthology too:

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