Working Class. Blue Collar Voters. Real Americans. Every election season these phrases are used by the media as a starting point for their coverage. This perspective relegates the voices of millions of urban voters (the majority of which are people of color) to the fringes while reinforcing a cultural hierarchy that excludes them, giving a disproportionate amount of power to a group of people that doesn’t represent the views of most Americans.
This may seem benign to some who are unaware of the ways inequality manifests itself in America but it isn’t. Like other forms of institutionalized bias, the impact is more damaging than other overt forms of discrimination because it shapes the worldview of so many without them noticing. The tendency to view some Americans as less than real has been weaponized against marginalized communities in ways that directly impact individual lives. Until there are just as many articles about what voters in these neighborhoods value as there are about why people are sticking with the current president, the overarching narrative will continue to be incomplete.
This collection of photographs represents the Real America I see everytime I walk out my front door. One can observe the best of what this country can be on these city streets, in places where people from all over the world are shooting their shot at a dream that is increasingly more difficult to achieve.
Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin is a Los Angeles based photographer whose work focuses on documenting life in the urban environment.