A Conversation on Institutionalized Racism,
Tokenism, Microaggressions, and Inclusion vs. Optics
in the Art World

Presentation by Jen Delos Reyes, Lisa Lee, and Astria Suparak
Common Field Convening, Houston, Texas (moved to online due to pandemic)
Saturday, April 25, 2020, 3pm CDT

Nearly 2,000 people participated in this live session or watched the recording afterwards. Most viewed program on Common Field’s Vimeo page.

Astria Suparak, Jen Delos Reyes, and Lisa Yun Lee have all been mistaken for one another in professional settings, told how much they look like each other, had their individuality and professional accomplishments erased in these moments, and in immeasurable ways all had to grapple with racism in their professional spheres and beyond.

Join them for a conversation on institutionalized racism, tokenism, microaggressions, and inclusion vs. optics in the art world. Attendees will be asked to participate in the conversation by sharing their own experiences, retorts, effective responses, and solutions to overt and covert racism within the art world and academia, and those who have not experienced or witnessed these kinds of biases are invited to check their own assumptions and listen for ways they can serve as allies and change makers for the field.


This program was followed up by DIE D.E.I.: A Discussion on the Horrors of Institutional Inclusion, organized by Astria Suparak & Jen Delos Reyes and co-hosted by Stop DiscriminAsian and Museums Moving Forward on Feb. 7, 2023.





  • Section 1: Intro (00:16)
  • Section 2: Statistics and Institutionalized Racism (19:30)
  • Section 3: Optics vs. Inclusion (34:41)
  • Section 4: Resistance and Justice (41:26)


This session also included a participatory discussion among the presenters and attendees, which took place contemporaneously in Zoom’s chat function. The chat portion has been broken out into these two resources:

  1. Tips for Anti-Racist Allyship in the Art World and Academy (PDF)
  2. Racist Scenarios & Solutions (PDF)



NEW CITY, “Art Top 5: June 2020,” Kerry Cardoza, May 26, 2020


“This is a pretty interesting experiment in real-time, and an extraordinary way to utilize Zoom. I think this is the most engaging Zoom conference I’ve attended since events have started to moved online. […]

Suparak explains some of the times she’s been tokenized, and explains: ‘The positions most often offered to people of color are often precarious, prefaced by “adjunct”, “visiting”, or “guest.” One-time invites that diversify the lineup of an organization temporarily or superficial, or are lower in status and pay, such as maintenance, education, visitor services, and middle management. White people remain in most of the leadership, permanent, and tenured positions.’
Preach. All of the speakers are spot-on and incredibly compelling. […]

It’s heartening to see such a keen and engaged audience. Lee, Suparak, and Reyes have set up a really successful platform for exchange.

Things are wrapping up. We’re each asked to share one word that we want to hold as we leave and ruminate on this discussion. Mine?: Seen.”
– Jasmine Weber, “Live Blogging Discussions of Collective Bargaining and Language Justice in the Arts,” April 25, 2020.

GLASSTIRE, “Notes On Common Field 2020, Houston Edition,” Christopher Blay, May 6, 2020

JUST A LIST, Curated List of Art-related Happenings, June  2020