Talking about racial ethnicity has always been a funny topic for me. Mostly because when I tell people that I am Ethiopian, I usually get rattled off of a long list of ethnicities they thought I was (Latino being the usual first assumption.) As fun as it is to play twenty questions every once in a while, it was interesting for me to be assigned an article for the Washington Post a few weeks ago about how it’s even harder to talk about race now that Obama is in office. Renique Allen did an excellent job writing the article. She really connected with how strange it is that even with an African American President, a greater sense of diversity and tolerance, it’s still hard to talk about race. This is mostly because of the uncomfortable fear/judgement of being called a racist for having a simple conversation about race.
I collaborated with Kristin Lenz on the article to come up with the best solution. We talked back and forth on whether to include Obama or to have it be more of an abstract piece to talk more in general about the disconnect and deflection people had when talking about race. After talking with her and getting some feedback from the editors, we decided that the design/headline will help solve the problem in connection with the illustration.
Kristin did an amazing job with the layout of the article. When I picked up the paper Sunday morning, I was really taken back by how well the marriage between the design and the illustration melded together.
Here’s a follow up spot that goes along with the continuation of the article. Thanks again Kristin for taking a chance, and making a great piece of work with me.