Artwork Detail

Free, White and 21
American, b. 1943
Color video with sound
12:15 min.
University purchase, Bixby Fund, 2012
WU 2012.0007
In this deeply personal and political video, Howardena Pindell recounts the racism she encountered both as a child and an adult in educational institutions, employment offices, and various social settings. The video alternates between filmed sequences of the African-American artist speaking directly into the camera as herself and in the guise of a blonde white woman who reprimands black Howardena for being paranoid and ungrateful. Presenting a strong statement against discrimination, the video draws attention to stereotypical racial roles and the ways in which people of color are expected to perform and behave. The contentious dialogue between these two women also functions as a critique of the notion of “Woman” employed in the feminist debates of the 1970s, which tended to overlook the impact of differences of class and race. [Permanent collection label, 2013]