The author of this Captain’s Log is Captain Carlyle Brown. Carl is a Picton Castle shipmate from several voyages. He has had an extensive career as a sailing ship mariner, marine educator and long-time successful sail trainer. He has been Captain or Mate of the schooners Harvey Gamage, When And If, Pioneer, J.N. Carter, Ernestina, Bill of Rights and more. He was also one of the pioneering Outward Bound instructors at Hurricane Island, Maine years ago. He has spent a great deal of time in Europe, West and South Africa and on dog sleds in the far North. He has led all manner of eclectic artistic groups and young people into a right path.
Carl today is also a prolific Black American playwright. Winner of numerous awards, the New York Times has called him “the most significant American playwright outside of New York City”. He has a one man show called “Acting Black: Demystifying Racism”. This show is an examination of race and identity in drama and much else besides. It is insightful, funny and deep. Like Joseph Conrad and Herman Melville before him, his seafaring years profoundly inform his dramatic work. He is simply amazing.
Given the issues of the day we know that race needs to be talked about. And its getting talked about anyway. I can think of no one better than our shipmate Captain Carl Brown to take lead here. Any one of our former crew who has sailed a world voyage in PICTON CASTLE is well aware that the world we sail is incredibly diverse, hospitable and friendly to us. And we so benefit so much from these lovely folks all around the world on our ocean odysseys under sail.
Captain D. Moreland
My solo show Acting Black: Demystifying Racism, part spoken word, part stand-up comedy, part Ted-Talk, was written in response to the police murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in 2014. It opened on June 1, 2015, at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, two months after the police murder of Freddie Gray on April 19 in Baltimore. Since that time, I have been performing Acting Black for hire, facilitating post-performance discussions where white audience members are instructed to engage with each other. The prompt for the discussion is the question, “What will you do to stop this festering sore that is racism in America.” My role as facilitator is always to keep the conversation safe and honest and, as an African-American man, bear witness to their struggles to be honest, self-reflective and to imagine others who are other than themselves. Over the course of time doing these presentations, I have come to the conclusion that white people don’t talk to each other about race very much and when they do are surprised to discover that their ideas about race vary widely among them. Without the participation of the other to ask for guidance, to accuse or have them explain themselves, the conversations are halting, rambling and unfocused for the most part. Once it gets going the conversations finally coalesces around feelings of fragility and guilt. And disturbingly, I find that it seems as if they are equating their feelings with the actual victimization of other human beings. As their witness, I have often called this unempathetic response to their attention, and there is always surprised recognition and silent acknowledgement that this is true and that the road to consciousness, to freedom and justice is a long journey through self-discovery and self-awareness before one can act or even know what to do.
But now racism has gotten so bad that even white people are mad.
Now, after the police murder of George Floyd here where I am in Minneapolis, everything has changed. Hundreds of thousands of people of all races, all ethnicities, creeds, sexual orientations and even political persuasions from all over the country and around the world have taken to the streets to protest against social injustice and to put a stop to this festering sore that is racism in America.
Acting Black live was discontinued due to restrictions on public gatherings because of COVID-19. In response to current events, it is now being offered virtually.
If your group or organization is not there yet and need some context and conversation to get you started, I’m here for you.
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Peace and Solidarity,