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The philosophy founded by Eli Siegel

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Reprinted from...
JANUARY 14, 2004 


Like thousands of others, I was horrified seeing the video of the beating of Nathaniel Jones. And I was also very moved reading the article about the high school students’ march to City Hall (Seen and Heard, issue of Dec. 17-23).

     While the circumstances of Jones’ death are being investigated, racism exists and is deadly. I want people in Cincinnati, my home town, to know what I learned about its cause from Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by the great poet and critic Eli Siegel. Human cruelty, he showed, including prejudice and racism, arises from contempt, “the addition to self through the lessening of something else.” Contempt is ordinary — it makes for everyday sarcasm and meanness — and also helps a person become brutal to another because that person’s skin color is different.

“As soon as you have contempt,” Siegel explained, “as soon as you don’t want to see another person as having the fullness that you have, you can rob that person, hurt that person, kill that person.” I’m sure that if contempt is studied and understood, tragedies like this — and racism in cities across this nation — can end. 

I grew up in Glendale, and though my family didn’t see ourselves as prejudiced we took it for granted that being white made us superior to persons with darker skin. This narrow-minded, deeply ignorant way of seeing hurt each of our lives — as it does every person who has it. When I was able to learn about my own contempt and see how it weakened me, I changed in many ways. I became much happier and more the person I hoped to be through wanting to know other people and honestly try to be fair to them.

Humanity will not be civilized until the contempt that begins quietly in all of us is seen for what it is and criticized straight — as I’m grateful mine has been — and people learn to see the difference of others as truly adding to them, making them more.
     It is urgent that people all over America learn to see each other this way. Anti-racism workshops given by consultants and associates are being presented at schools, libraries and college conferences. You can find out more by contacting the Aesthetic Realism Foundation, 141 Greene St., NYC 10012, 212-777-4490,

 — Nancy Huntting 
 New York, NY 

To the educational foundation where the philosophy founded by Eli Siegel is taught
arrowMartin Luther King / The King Center
arrowAnti-Prejudice Pledge / Anti-Defamation League
arrowAesthetic Realism Versus Racism

Aesthetic Realism Foundation
141 Greene Street
New York NY 10012


A not-for-profit educational foundation
Aesthetic Realism vs. Racism

"On Racism & How to End It" by Nancy Huntting

"Poems by Eli Siegel about Martin Luther King and America" by Alice Bernstein

Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism

"Genome & Equality" by Alice Bernstein

"Fascism, Understood At Last!" by Ruth Oron

"Aesthetic Realism: The Solution to Racism" by Arnold Perey, PhD

"Contempt, the Cause of Racism" by Edward Green

"Queen's Visit to Amritsar" by Christopher Balchin

"In Contempt the Root of Racism Lies" by Allan Michael

"Prejudice Changes to Respect" by Barbara McClung

"Students Learn, Prejudice Is Defeated!" by Patricia Martone

"Mathematics vs. Prejudice" by Lori Colavito

"Aesthetic Realism and the Anthropology of Africa" by Edward Green


The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known

Racism Can End, June 25, 1997
   (Reprinted 2004)

• The Aesthetics of Equality,
    January 20, 1999
• The Right of Every Child,
   December 17, 1997

Further Aesthetic Realism Resources

Aesthetic Realism Foundation
Eli Siegel Collection
Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company
Nationwide Links about Aesthetic Realism
Aesthetic Realism vs. Prejudice
Friends of Aesthetic Realism--Countering the Lies
Barbara Allen: Flutist, Consultant
Aesthetic Realism & Self-Expression
Nancy Huntting, Consultant & Essayist
Towards Middle East Peace: Articles by Ruth Oron
Photography Education
Alan Shapiro, Aesthetic Realism Associate Jazz Pianist, Music Educator
Leila Rosen, Aesthetic Realism Associate, English Educator
Aesthetic Realism in the News