Posted on October 1, 2021

‘All-Purpose White Fear’

Kathaleen Roberts. Albuquerque Journal, September 26, 2021

White mothers have traditionally been viewed as nurturing, innocent and incapable of violence.

Albuquerque artist Jami Porter Lara grabs that assumption and spins it into an exploration of white racism in “Terms & Conditions,” open at Gerald Peters Contemporary in Santa Fe.

Lara says that, historically, white women perform the critical foundation work of propagating racism, sexism and homophobia through the education and policing of children.

“It is violence and it is maternal love, wrapped into one,” she said in a telephone interview from Sicily.

The idea began germinating when Lara faced implied criticism over her ceramic work. In 2017, she created a series of black vessels from discarded plastic bottles she found on the U.S.-Mexico border. She was inspired by the black-on-black ware coiled by the potters of Mexico’s Mata Ortiz.


“We have this idea of Jim Crow as drafted by the laws and jurisprudence of men,” Lara said. “But none of that would have had any traction without the women who were the foot soldiers.”

Women were teachers, nurses and county clerk workers who reinforced laws forbidding interracial marriage. They also promoted the fiction of the Civil War being driven by state’s rights instead of slavery. The Confederate memorials now being torn down were erected through women’s fundraising, Lara added.