As you prepare to use one of these films in your Sacred Conversation on Race, we recommend that you review the film before showing it to be certain that it is appropriate for the group you have in mind. Careful thought should also be given to selecting the facilitators who will introduce the film and lead the discussion that follows the film. Because these films can evoke deep emotions and provoke a range of responses, we recommend that facilitators work in pairs.
In selecting the appropriate facilitators, the following qualities should be paramount:
- they are known and trusted by diverse groups within the congregation;
- they have experience and skill as group facilitators;
- they have a sustained commitment to understanding and addressing white privilege and racism;
- they are willing and able to spend time together designing a format for introducing and discussing the film;
- they are willing and able to do some additional research and reading about the topic prior to showing the film.
A number of these films have accompanying study guides. We recommend that you inquire about study guides when you order the films.
List of Films
Africans in America
A four-part documentary, originally produced for PBS, that chronicles the history of racial slavery in the United States – from the start of the Atlantic slave trade in the 16th century to the end of the American Civil War in 1865. The series explores the central paradox at the heart of the American story: a democracy that declared “all men equal” but enslaved and oppressed one people to provide independence and prosperity to another. The series can be purchased at http://www.pbs.org.
At the River I Stand.
The Spring of 1968 in Memphis marked the dramatic climax of the Civil Rights movement. At the River I Stand skillfully reconstructs the two eventful months that transformed a local labor dispute into a national conflagration, and disentangles the complex historical forces that came together with the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
66 minutes. DVD and video.
Banished vividly recovers the too-quickly forgotten history of racial cleansing in America when thousands of African Americans were driven from their homes and communities by violent, racist mobs. The film places these events in the context of present day race relations by following three concrete cases where black and white citizens warily explore if there is common ground for reconciliation over these expulsions.
84 minutes. DVD only. 877-811-1850.
A documentary by Shanti Thakur which has as its subject aboriginal practices of restorative justice as they are being integrated into the justice system in Canada. By bringing together the perpetrator of a crime, his or her victims, peers and elders, sentencing circles focus on finding ways to heal the offender, the victim and the community, instead of simply punishment. The Aboriginal men interviewed in the film see a crucial link between violence in their communities and the legacy of residential schools mandated for Indians that removed children from their families and forbid them to practice their native spiritual and cultural traditions.
58 minutes. DVD.
The Color of Fear
A groundbreaking film about the state of race relations in America as seen through the eyes of eight North American men of Asian, European, Latino and African descent. In a series of intelligent, emotional, and dramatic confrontations the men reveal the pain and scars that racism has caused them. What emerges is a deeper sense of understanding and trust. This is the dialogue most of us fear, but hope will happen sometime in our lifetime.
90 minutes. DVD. (510) 204-8840.
A Dream in Doubt.
Four days after the 9/11 attacks, Balbir Singh Sodhi was gunned down at his Phoenix area gas station by a man named Frank Roque. To Roque, Balbir Sodhi’s beard and turban – articles of his Sikh faith – symbolized the face of America’s new enemy. A Dream in Doubt follows Rana Singh Sodhi, Balbir’s brother, as he attempts to fight the hate threatening his family and community.
57 minutes. Color. DVD with Study Guide. (415) 863-0814.
Eyes on the Prize.
An award-winning 14-hour television series produced by Blackside and narrated by Julian Bond. Through contemporary interviews and historical footage, the series covers all of the major events of the civil rights movement from 1954-1985. Series topics range from the Montgomery bus boycott in 1954 to the Voting Rights Act in 1965; from community power in schools to "Black Power" in the streets; from early acts of individual courage through to the flowering of a mass movement.
Can be ordered through: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/
First Person Plural.
Deann Borshay was among thousands of South Korean orphans sent to the U.S. in the 1960s to be adopted and raised by American families. First Person Plural is a personal documentary that chronicles Borshay’s struggle to set right a case of mistaken identity and unravel the mysteries surrounding her adoption.
56 minutes. Study guide available. Center for Asian American Media. 415-863-7428.
A documentary by Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras. Flag Wars is a stark look inside the conflicts that surface when black working-class families are faced with an influx of white gay home buyers to their Columbus, Ohio neighborhood.
Zula Pearl Films. 877-352-4927. http://www.flagwarsthemovie.com.
In Whose Honor: American Indian Mascots in Sports
By Jay Rosenstein, takes a critical look at the long-running practice of using American Indian names and images as mascots in sports. It follows the story of a Native American graduate student, Charlene Teters, and her transformation into the leader of a movement as she struggles to protect her cultural symbols and identity.
46 minutes. May be rented or purchased through New Day Films, 22-D Hollywood Ave., Ho-ho-kus, NJ. 201-652-6590.
Light in The Shadows.
American women of Indigenous, African, Arab, European, Jewish, Asian, Latina and Mixed Race descent, use authentic dialogue to crack open a critical door of consciousness.
45 Minutes. Color. DVD or Video. Recommended for advanced use only.
Made in L.A.
Traces the moving transformation of three Latina garment workers on the fault lines of global economic change who decide they must resist. The film provides an insider's view into both the struggles of recent immigrants and into the organizing process itself: the enthusiasm, discouragement, hard-won victories and ultimate self-empowerment.
Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible.
Features the experiences of white women and men who have worked to gain insight into what it means to challenge notions of racism and white supremacy in the United States.
50 minutes. Color. DVD or Video. 510-632-5156.
The Spirit of Crazy Horse.
One hundred years after the massacre at Wounded Knee, Milo Yellow Hair recounts the story of his people – from the lost battles for their land against the invading whites – to the bitter internal divisions and radicalization of the 1970's – to the present-day revival of Sioux cultural pride, which has become a unifying force as the Sioux try to define themselves and their future.
60 minutes. Available through Amazon.com.
This film is about six Asian American men who struggle against racism and their anguish and pain at the trauma of assimilation towards themselves and their families. A must-see film for those striving to better understand the "model minority" and the pressures of blending into the American culture.
40 minutes. VHS. 510-204-8840
Traces of the Trade.
In this documentary, film maker Katrina Browne discovers that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. She and nine cousins retrace the Triangle Trade and gain a powerful new perspective on the black/white divide. Traces of the Trade had its national broadcast television premiere on the PBS documentary series P.O.V. in June 2008.
ABC News documentary about two friends – John, who is White, and Glen, who is Black – who take part in a series of hidden camera experiments exploring people's reactions to each in a variety of situations. Prime Time Live, undercover, follows John and Glen separately as they each try to rent an apartment, respond to job listings, purchase a car, and conduct everyday activities such as shopping. In every instance, John is welcomed into the community while Glen is discouraged by high prices, long waits, and unfriendly salespeople.
19 minutes. Color. DVD or VHS. Available for loan from Justice & Witness Ministries: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Way Home.
Over the course of eight months, sixty-four women representing a cross-section of cultures, (Indigenous, African-American, Arab, Asian, European-American, Jewish, Latina, and Multiracial) came together to share their experience of racism in America.
92 minutes. Color. DVD or VHS. 510-632-5156.
The Veterans of Hope Project
The Veterans of Hope Project has conducted interviews – available on DVD – with more than 50 religious leaders, activists, artists, and educators who are veterans of struggles for freedom and justice in this country and in other parts of the world. In the interviews, these individuals reflect on the role of religion/spirituality in their life and work, representing a unique educational resource on religion and democratic transformation. Among those interviewed: Andrew Young, Bernice Johnson Reagon, James Lawson, and Delores Huerta. DVDs can be purchased individually or as a series. http://www.veteransofhope.org. 303-765-3194.
What Makes Me White?
A film by A. M. Sands about the role of race in the daily lives of White People. Starting with her own story of a childhood in the suburbs, the filmmaker weaves in stories of other White People and observations by People of Color. Together, these narratives create a portrait of whiteness as a learned social reality, one that is vividly experienced by People of Color but largely unnoticed by Whites.
Color. DVD. 15 minutes.
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.
Spike Lee’s documentary chronicles the experiences of people from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic conditions who endured the harrowing ordeal of living in New Orleans during and after the levees were breached. Through eyewitness accounts and expert commentary, the four-part documentary tells the saga of one of the greatest natural disasters experienced by any region of the country and the failure at all levels of government to respond adequately to the tragedy. Three-disc set is available through HBO.
253 minutes. Color. A multi-disciplinary curriculum guide, “Teaching The Levees,” published and distributed by Teachers College Press, can be downloaded at www.teachingthelevees.com.
White Shamans and Plastic Medicine Men.
A thoughtful critique of the appropriation of Native American culture and spirituality by white new age people who make a living and lifestyle from using and selling indigenous spiritual ritual and symbols. Throughout the video, Native Americans speak about their feelings and thoughts about the role of spiritual practice and the historical appropriation of indigenous land, resources, and now spirituality, by white people. White practitioners of Native American spirituality also share their feelings, thoughts and intentions.
Available for loan from: Western States Center– http://www.westernstatescenter.org. 503-228-8866.