essays

real america

A documentary photography essay exploring the concept of Real America.


Working Class. Blue Collar Voters. Real Americans. Every election season these phrases are used by the media as the focal point for their political coverage. This perspective reinforces a cultural hierarchy that excludes the voices of millions of voters (the majority of which are people of color). Devaluing the concerns of such a large segment of the population gives a disproportionate amount of power to a group of people that doesn’t represent the views of most Americans.

It may seem like an unintentional effect of inequality in America but that isn’t the case. Like other forms of institutional bias, the impact is more damaging than other overt forms of discrimination. It shapes the worldview of so many without them noticing, increasing the tendency to view some Americans as less than real. Until the concerns of working class people in Harlem and Los Angeles get as much media attention as those in Scranton and Ohio, the narrative will remain incomplete.

I photograph Real America I see every time I walk out my front door. One can observe the best of this country on these streets, where people from all over the world chase a dream that is increasingly more difficult to achieve.