Seeing the forest. Seeing the trees. Seeing the things that lie beneath.
Part three of my three part expose on Fredericksburg, Virginia’s green and white supremacy. CW- Language.
I spent a month after my meeting with DTG buried in a sea of blankets and sadness, I cannot blame my condition on their actions, as I was experiencing a miscarriage when that horribly biased article about the possible exploitation of POC children masked as charity came out but the stress and even getting out of bed and walking over ten blocks to ultimately being invalidated and kicked out of the property certainly did not help my health. Being chronically ill and living un-insured and un-medicated with chronic pain keeps me in bed a great deal of my life — painting, reading, writing, watching cartoons and messing on Facebook keeps me occupied and my mind off the physical pain I feel in the rare moments when my two kids aren’t.
Sincerely, I love social media. I like connecting with my old friends whether it be primary school friends from Uruguay, classmates here from middle, high school and college. I like being able to support the content my friends create. I love seeing and hitting that love react to baby, puppy, garden progress photos and all the “feeling myself” selfies my friends upload, what’s more I have found love, connection and emotional support from POC friends some whom I have never met in person yet, these are no less my friends than the folks I grew up with and it is my belief that one day we will meet anyways.
The love and solidarity I have found online is precious to me and in turn I try to be a good friend right back and oftentimes I find myself on the giving as well as the receiving end of validation, emotional support, love and share of resources.
No sooner than I left DTG from the meeting in which the board had already prepared a letter stating that I was barred from the property before even speaking to me, they had already made quick work of erasing my concerns on their Facebook page, banning me and challenging my honest-to-god review of their organization.
Other people of color whom shared my concern for the safety of the children working the farmer youth program picked up where I could not and raised the same questions. Is She Safe to work with POC? How low are the standards of this organization when they willingly hire and support 100% someone willing to wear black face, steal from Native artists, poach Wildlife and demonize the people of color willing to say “this is not okay” via using other POC instead of accepting accountability and education to better understand the Native people she romanticizes (only if they fit within her a e s t h e t i c s and hippy world view of what First Nation Peoples are like.)
I say it often, this town has never met nor does it know how to deal with proud, decolonized People of Color. This entire ordeal proves it. These mostly Black folks were also banned and their reviews reported. Most of them caught 24 hour bans on Facebook as well. They then went on a campaign, having their own cult following, a community of mostly white liberal folks living in Spotsylvania (suburbs nowhere near this neighborhood) to positively review their page with accolades about their community building efforts as they continued banning POC from the actual community and their comments.
Ultimately overwhelmed DTG disabled the review comment features on their page and took to deleting and banning people of color from the page, even POC whom ‘liked’ the page without leaving questions, comments or concerns. Even faster they doubled down on adding photos of this racist woman wickedly smiling down as she ‘teaches’ ‘disenfranchised’ children of color.
My community was in great pain and distress over this blatantly racist silencing tactics.
My own solo exhibition at AM Studios coming up the First Friday of July, I decided to dedicate the entire opening to this subject of white supremacy protecting itself byway of silencing me and my community.
Personally, this was the second instance where I was outright banned from a place in Fredericksburg (not counting UMW when I was arrested alongside Student Activists as they staged a 20 day sit in to convince the college to Divest from fossil fuels, the charges were dropped thanks to amazing civil rights attorney Jon Oats and the college did Divest!) This modus operandi had become a pattern, where business in this town chose to protect this racist poacher instead of listening to POC and their concerns. Warning other POC about their praxis and their subsequent boycotts of these establishments and organizations translated to harassment on my part.
July Fourth found our Art Mart Facebook page flooded with negative “Nina is a racist, you all should fire her!” reviews once again. I considered firing myself. But instead took screen caps such as Blonde white woman telling me shes proud to be white, or bald headed white man with a confederate, nazi gay flag on his profile photos calling me racist. I re-posted them on my own page with caption like “Ya’lls friend sure has a lot of racist friends to defend her for someone whom isn’t a racist!” we grit through the new wave of negative reviews (something we have come to expect from that racist woman’s even more racist friends) and harassment on my personal page knowing this was retaliation for the Patch article which served as expose of the organization and those who run it (more on that on Part Two.)
I have been labeled The Most Racist Person in all of Fredericksburg by white people. Which is amusing as I live next door to the leader of the Virginia Flaggers, a group of confederacy romanticizers whom work really hard in keeping monuments to the confederacy alive and whose biggest achievement was to raise funds to make and erect (on private land) the biggest confederate flag in the state of Virginia which flies over interstate 95 in the Stafford exit. I have been living next door to and fighting the ‘enemy’ a man whom if he had his way, he’d have my entire family subservient and the only time I go off on him is in town hall meetings and letters to the editor battles (only) for years now. I am perfectly capable of keeping it civil when we invariable run into each other in the neighborhood — “Mornin’” “Mornin to you,” has been our exchanges for years outside of politically charged meetings and protests.
I am not here for violence, I am here for discourse that will push this town forward, but in order to move forward we simply must abandon toxicity of the past instead of romanticizing and glorifying with reductionist language, not burying your shit in the backyard like it’s is nothing, one cannot ignore the damages done and try to move forward, simply put, it is abusive to do so.
I won’t go into details about my exhibition and leave that for another story but basically I did what they asked and quit as curator of my own gallery, I no longer felt like the arts community here deserves the excellent work for free. The weekend after that we still received bad reviews, threats and trolls on my personal page so I banned these racists without even dragging them and pulling a page right out of DTG ‘s book we disabled reviews on AM’s page. I never challenged to FB these disingenuous reviews, instead I wanted to keep them up as a shinning example of white violence against proud POC.
One rant which included the (re-motherfucking claimed) word Hoe from me was reported this week and landed me in ban-land from Facebook from my main page for 30 days on my birth month, I cannot communicate with my family in Uruguay, especially my Yugoslavian biological dad whom cannot write but uses his cell phone’s voice command to communicate with me after 28 years apart, he was able to find me on FB and I will share this story with you soon.
I also had a back-up Demi Boy page made under the name Leonina, Leo for short. That page was reported for using a fake name and taken down as well, make no mistake, this was a blatant act of trans antagonism.
Overall the community standards of FB are fucked when I and other POC activists are being banned from FB for using the femme reclaimed word hoe or calling white people white people but white supremacists can get away with using any kind of slur they choose and most anyone can add extra pizzaz to their names with made up middle names but I and many other trans folks are forced to have to use our ‘birth’ name on a page or else. I am NB and use pronouns and names interchangeably, but not all Trans folks are comfortable with that and making us overall dead name ourselves is gross. Reporting trans folks pages whom use their names is a favorite past time of alt reich trolls sometimes making entire lists and mass reporting together for fun.White supremacy (and transphobia being one of its many by products) will always seek to protect and uphold itself. Greening it up won’t change that. After re-publishing the Patch article which ultimately was taken down for also “violating community standards” on here I received a message from Medium which asked to take out all the names from the expose or face having it taken down. I complied with their request in order to keep this account and conclude this story today.
This ordeal taught me that teaching Individuals about supremacy is not the right approach. I see the forest and I see the trees and it isn’t POC job to teach white people to Be better but it is My Duty to dismantle the system in whatever way I can. Writing is a gift that I will continue using but instead of going and trying to prove to shitty people how shitty their people are or go against an entire town which now blacklisted me and my family my future lies in teaching and reaching the world and empowering POC to do the same. This ends this rudimentary expose on the greening of white supremacy in Fredericksburg, Virginia but not the end of my work.
My final words on the entire subject are taken from a famous Mexican proverb which has become life to us: