This is entry #52 in our 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.
Philosopher: Sheryl Tuttle Ross, University of Wisconsin—La Crosse
Artwork: “The Problem We All Live With”, Norman Rockwell, 1964 (Painting, Oil on Canvas, 91 cm x 150 cm, Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts)
Words: On November 14, 1960, Ruby Bridges, six years old, bravely walked to school, surrounded by four U.S. Marshalls who were protecting her in the face of outright hatred because of the color of her skin and her role in desegregating public schools. We are still dealing with the repercussions of America’s original sin: slavery. Still struggling to fully realize that Black Lives Matter. Perhaps, to serve as a reminder of the power of self-respect in response to racism, President Obama placed this painting in the Oval Office—indeed, useful as positive propaganda while we bend history’s arc toward justice.
[Ed. note: Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white public elementary in the South turned 62 yesterday, September 8.]