You’re treading.  You’ve been treading forever.  Your arms and legs are lead.  Somehow, you keep your head above water.
Your friend points and says, “Dolphins.”
You look.
You see fins.
Your eyes widen.
Your chest tightens.
You whisper, “Sharks.”

How did we get here? How is a minority ruling a majority in a so called “democracy?”
How can you look at the events of January 6th and see anything but the very definition of the word “insurrection?”
How can you see or hear the testimonies and evidence of the hearings and not realize that this insurrection started in the oval office?

You whisper, “Sharks.”
Your friend says, “They’re dolphins.”
You say, “The back of the fin is straight.  The back of a dolphins fin is curved.  They are definitely sharks.”
Your friend says, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The fin heads directly towards you.

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Voices of Race

Kathleen Dreier | Arizona, United States

With the ongoing polarization attached to the plethora of issues in the United States, the intention of the Voices of Race portrait series is to amplify perspectives, encourage civil discourse, foster understanding of our individual and collective history, and to be a call of action for all to be social change agents.

As a former social worker and being a 60+ white woman, I came to recognize my ignorance especially following George Floyd’s murder even though I raised a bi-racial son as a single mother. As a documentary photographer, I knew it was time to do something about my/our lack of knowledge about our country’s origins, the results of which continue to impact every aspect of our society.

Portraits are taken in the subject’s home/business, or in a public space of their choosing. No one’s statement is censored. While I have taken the portraits of 260 people to date, I feel that this work is in its beginning stages and form still.

In most cases, the comments accompanying the portraits are excerpts from the subject’s full statement.


Brief background information about this series:

The original version of Voices of Race began at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, evolving through 3 series before being known by its current name, Voices of Race (May 2021):  Covid-19 and Tucson Frontline Workers (March 2020), Tucson Black Voices (June 2020), and What What People Think (September 2020). There is a backstory to my process, of course, which will not be illuminated here due to space constraints.


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