As the conversation about the intersection of Occupy and people of color gains momentum with the public, an issue that many of us have struggled with is the fact that photographers will often spot a group of people of color within a larger crowd and start shooting away. While we’re happy to see more images of people of color featured in the media, we know that this can also paint a distorted view of the struggle that remains before us to decolonize this movement. Huffington Post reporter Janelle Ross explains the irony of being photographed for the sake of multiculturalism, despite the fact she was working on a story and not demonstrating:
I wasn’t carrying a placard decrying the evils of corporate greed or growing income inequality, just my standard equipment — a notebook, my oversized purse and a pen. And, I was there.
“Oh, well, that’s OK,” one photographer said when I told him that I was just a reporter and probably not the best person to mention in his caption. “I want to convey the fact that there are some black people here.”
The conversation was a reminder of the often simplistic, sometimes exasperating way that diversity is thought about, handled and cultivated in America.