What does (insert your race here) look like? Impossible answers to an impossible question

BY Victoria Fleischer  May 2, 2014 at 2:29 PM EDT
 JE, Chicago, Illinois (2008). Photo by Myra Greene

Artist Myra Greene set out to explore “whiteness” with her camera. Photo of JE, Chicago, Illinois, by Myra Greene

Here at Art Beat, we don’t want to shy away from difficult conversations and sensitive topics when they are depicted in art.

Such was the case on Thursday when we posted the story “Photographer examines what being white looks like.” It elicited many reactions and raised lots of questions about depictions of race and definitions of diversity.

Patricia Schwartz comment on Myra Greene

Stacey  comment on Myra Greene

In an effort to continue the conversation and further clarify the perspective of the artist, we wanted to share more from my conversation with photographer Myra Greene.

Greene has spent a lot of her life thinking about race and what it means to her identity. In talking with her white friends, she was surprised to find that they often have not tried to decipher what it means to be white. And thus her project was born.

Greene explained to me how often she is asked to be a representative of her community as a black woman. She was interested in “having that responsibility reversed and having white people become the representation of their community. All of a sudden they understand what that pressure or that stereotype might be, and whether or not they want to embrace that.”

Calipenguin comment on Myra Greene

Chandler comment on Myra Greene

Is race important to your identity? How would you depict it if you were asked? Tell us in the comments below or tweet @NewsHourArtBeat with #NewsHourAsks.