“My art piece is about a phrase –‘I don’t care if you are blue, green, purple, or polka dotted’– that is often said in one form or another by people as evidence that they are not racist. The phrase is used to signify that color does not matter. My work questions the validity of this phrase.
This piece is grounded in Semiotics, which is a theoretical framework that focuses on ‘signs’ as signifiers and what is signified in their meaning. My work questions what is signified by the phrase. No one exists anywhere in the world that is blue, green, purple or polka dotted. So why state something that has never existed, does not exist, or will never exist as evidence that one is not a racist? What does this ‘sign’ tell us about our society? What is the relevance of this common phrase, and its variations, in American society?
The work itself consists of four images of my mother, Guadalupe Rivera, who was born in Mexico and grew up in Texas. My grandmother, Eulalia Pulido, brought my mother and my Aunt Carmen to Texas as children during the Mexican Revolution. This migration occurred at the insistence of my grandfather who wanted to remove them from harm’s way while he joined the revolution. Needless to say, when they entered the United States at the beginning of the last century, they entered into a world where racism permeated the social milieu. Color mattered. Unfortunately, color still matters in the New Millennium.” – George Rivera