David & Carla (from the series "Indivisible")
Gift of the artist

Ink, sheet below image right
Ink, sheet below image left: "DAVID & CARLA"

DAVID & CARLA // CARLA: I think it's impossible to be blind to race. I think anybody who claims to be colorblind, I think anyone who claims their children are colorblind, is absolutely wrong. No one is. I think it's obvious. Just challenge your expectations and challenge your assumptions, I think that would be a more productive way to go at it. But to pretend that race doesn't matter, that it doesn't exist makes no sense. // DAVID: I agree wholeheartedly. I think an awareness of race is important. But that shouldn't define who we are. // African Americans are from Africa, Caucasians are from Europe. It says something about who they are and about their genetic makeup but, that's all it says. I guess, it's really hard to articulate, but there are things that define who I am based on the fact that generations have come from Eastern Europe, just as Carla is defined by the fact that some of her ancestors grew up as slaves and others were Native Americans. // It helps define us, but it doesn't tell us who we are the way people would like to think it tells us who we are. I think people set limits and expectations. That's the key thing. People try to dig out, "oh, okay, I get it, you're Jewish and that's why you own a company." That's the problem. // CARLA: In 1989, I was interviewing at Electronic Arts, and I'm sitting in the waiting room and the personnel man walks by me three times, and finally he goes up to me and says, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to keep you waiting. I just didn't think you'd be black." I'm sure he thinks he's very liberal and doesn't have a racist bone in his body, but that tells you something about expectations. // CARLA: I read my mother a poem about a woman asking a bi-racial girl "what are you?" And the girl says, "I'm a girl, I'm a short person, I'm this, I'm that," anything, but refuses to give the woman the satisfaction of answering about what race she is. And I said, isn't that a cool poem? // My mother just laid down the law. "You know, if you give a stressed out answer whenever people bring up this issue your kids are gonna hear that and they're gonna think there's something wrong. You tell them, 'yea, my children are bi-racial, I'm African-American, my husband is Jewish,' you just tell them exactly what those children are, and don't you worry about those people think!'" // CARLA: The only thing I hoped for was that my kids would look like each other. I didn't care what shade they came out, as long as one wasn't so dark and one was so light that they would have very different life experiences because I think that's really tough to deal with. // DAVID: The very first time Taryn brought it up she was asking about why she didn't have had lighter hair, why wasn't she blond. // CARLA: Barbie. // DAVID: Yea, it comes from Mattel. I'm sure Mattel, if you interviewed them, would show you all their dark skinned Barbies they have. But the fact is if you watch a lot of commercials and // CARLA: the blonde Barbi is the one you see. // DAVID: And that's what Taryn wanted to look like. Which is interesting to me, because I figured that nowadays there are so many more people of color on TV that I thought kids wouldn't have that reaction. But Taryn came to that conclusion. We talked to her about how all skin colors are fine and about how mommy is very beautiful. // CARLA: And how she is beautiful, that all people who love her best, none of these people look like Barbie. But still, this is the ideal despite the fact that Taryn's surrounded by people who love her and don't look like Barbie. // The messages are out there. /// Carla and David, both 39-years-old, make their home in Berkeley, California. Carla grew up in Rosell, New Jersey, met her husband at Columbia while getting her MBA, and is now a gymnastics/soccer mom. // David grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts, also received his MBA from Columbia and is now a senior executive for J. Walter Thompson. (Typewritten sheet accompanying print)
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