The 90’s, episode 306: Race And Racism – Red, White, And Black

Episode 306 of the award winning series, The 90's. This episode is called "RACE AND RACISM - RED, WHITE AND BLACK" and features the following segments:

01:09Copy video clip URL Cold Open from “This Week in Joe’s Basement,” a cable access show in Chicago. A man on the street is asked what he thinks of black people. “I got a difference between black people and niggers. Niggers are gang bangers. Black people are people who have respect for other people…I like black people. Niggers, I don’t like.” A friend comes up and is asked what he thinks of black people. He replies, “I don’t like ’em” and walks away. The first man explains his friend’s views, “Some people have different opinions. He don’t have a difference. He don’t like blacks period… It’s just the way I was raised — my mom and dad. Well, really my dad, he was like that. I always heard ‘nigger’ come out of their mouths. I pretty much ran into that.”

2:01Copy video clip URL The 90’s opening.

02:50Copy video clip URL “This Week in Joe’s Basement” by Joe Winston. A man-on-the-street interviewer asks African Americans what they think about white people. The first, a half black, half white University of Chicago student laughs at the fact that the interviewer assumed he was black. A second man explains his trouble respecting white people due to persisting racial inequalities.

04:13Copy video clip URL “On the street in Los Angeles” A woman in Los Angeles comments on the impact the publicity surrounding the Rodney King beating will have on black children. “Which is the child going to be more afraid of — the cop or the crack dealer on the corner?”

04:36Copy video clip URL More from “This Week in Joe’s Basement”. A black woman comments, “To me there’s nothing wrong with the white people. I love them just as I love the blacks.”

05:02Copy video clip URL “Do Y’all Know How to Play Dixie?” by Lisa Guido / Starfish Productions. Members of the Ku Klux Klan enjoy a down home music jam with their families while chilling headlines of racial terrorism across the country from 1980-1989 appear at the bottom of the screen.

09:05Copy video clip URL Excerpt from 1940’s Anti-German propaganda film. The film depicts a distinguished-looking professor addressing a class of young German students: “There is no scientific proof that there’s any correlation between a man’s racial characteristics and his native ability or character… We must judge each man as an individual…” As he relays this controversial information, soldiers burst into the room to remove him. As they approach, he remains defiant: “And remember that there is no master race. That is a scientific truth! Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying!”

10:15Copy video clip URL “Helen Wray and Sammy” by Jeff Spitz. Helen Wray sings about America’s immigrant history to her great-grandson, Sammy: “Columbus discovered America in 1492 / Then came the Englishmen and the Dutch, the Frenchman and the Jew… Then came the Swede and the Irishman / who helped the country grow / They keep a’coming and everywhere you go… If you’re riding on the subway train / And find that there are no seats / You’ll find they are taken by the Argentines, the Portuguese and the Greeks…”

11:16Copy video clip URL “La Conversacion” by Deep Dish TV. A phone call between Guillermo Gomez-Pena in San Diego and Coco Fusco in New York who talk about the societal concept of the American melting pot. “The problem is that the blacks, Latinos, and the Native Americans have never been part of this cooking project.”

12:34Copy video clip URL “Mohawk Crises at Oka” by Robbie Leppzer & Sara Elinoff. In Kanehsatake, Quebec, the Mohawk Indians have resisted the government’s attempt to take away a part of their sacred burial ground in order to build a nine hole golf course… A spokeswoman for the tribe says: “This is a community. This is not a house under siege. This is a whole community… Canada has violated international law, yet they condemn Iraq for the invasion of Kuwait. What kind of hypocritical government do you people agree to live under?”… Rick Hornung of the Village Voice comments on the crisis and its outcome with accompanying pictures of the Mohawk surrender depicting the unnecessary brutality executed by the Canadian troops.

18:47Copy video clip URL Excerpt from “American In-Justice” by Denis Mueller & Deb Ellis. In 1969 Malcolm X says: “In America, democracy is hypocrisy… If democracy means freedom, why aren’t our people free? If democracy means justice, why don’t we have justice?” In Oakland in 1968, Black Panthers march and chant, “I am a Revolutionary.”

19:38Copy video clip URL “Gil Scott-Heron” by Skip Blumberg. Gil Scott-Heron explains the meaning of his famous saying: “What that catch phrase – ‘the revolution will not be televised’ – what that was all about: The first change that takes place is in your mind. Your have to change your mind before you change the way you live… The thing that is going to change people is something that you can never capture on film.”

20:57Copy video clip URL “Rose Auger” by Robbie Leppzer. Rose Auger, a medicine woman living Ecuador, urges Aboriginal peoples of the Americas to restore the spiritual balance to the world. “The world is really messed up. If we do not begin to act on it, the we are all going to be destroyed. The people of the modern society… to me their spiritual God is money and power… That’s not the way we’re supposed to be.”

23:43Copy video clip URL “Between Two Worlds: Hmong Shaman in America” by Taggart Siegel & Dwight Conquergood. This piece examines the situation of the Hmong community in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago and Milwaukee, WI. This group is among America’s most recent immigrants. The videomakers profile a few individual Hmong before showing a healing ritual for a severely premature baby, which involves the sacrifice of a cow.

28:14Copy video clip URL “Prof. William King commentary” by Jimmy Sternfield. “Capitalism is predicated on the principle of exclusion. Democracy is predicated on the principle of inclusion. So you gotta decide which one. You can’t have both.”

29:08Copy video clip URL “Drive Through Watts” by Jim Mulryan. In a pickup truck driving through the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, James Woods, an African American man, and Matthew Lang, a white man, discuss racism in America. According to Woods, “Racism in America is like a disease, like alcoholism.” He lists the stages of dealing with alcoholism, emphasizing the prevalence of denial, in order to imply that most Americans are racist yet do not realize it. He discusses the difficulties faced by young African-American men who are looking for jobs, insisting that a white man with the same qualifications will always be chosen over the black man. Lang does not believe that racism is as extreme a problem as Woods claims, instead attributing the rampant unemployment of African-American males to other issues, such as poor education.

32:08Copy video clip URL “Prof. Rudolph Acuna commentary” by Nancy Cain. Prof. Rudolph Acuna of California State University at Northridge refers to the recent act by the U.S. Government of forgiving 70% of Poland’s debt. He claims that at the same time that the U.S. was being so generous to this European country, services for minorities within the U.S. were suffering. He finds this to be part of a larger system of injustice against minorities. “It’s a white on white game.”

32:44Copy video clip URL “Manufacturing the Enemy” by Ludger Balant and Gulf Crisis TV Project. This piece attempts to explain the mechanisms by which the U.S. government dehumanizes a group of people in order to gain support for military campaigns against them.

34:35Copy video clip URL “Dr. Joel Kovel commentary” by Johnnie Jones, John Schwartz. Kovel explains his view that racism is an underlying structural problem that cannot be addressed simply by changing public opinion: “Racism will not disappear until the institutional forces that support racism disappear.”

35:32Copy video clip URL “Ethnic Notions” by Marlon Riggs. A piece examining a racist cartoon from 1941 that depicts shameful stereotypes of African Americans.

36:39Copy video clip URL “Matty Rich” by Maxi Cohen. Filmmaker Matty Rich describes the importance of media representations in developing public opinion. He says the only white people he saw as a child growing up in the projects were on The Brady Bunch. Subsequently, he grew up thinking that white people had no problems. “TV has a big effect on a lot of people. TV controls a lot of people’s minds in the way they think about another class… For many years, black people have been portrayed as drug dealers and pimps. And people think this is what we’re really like… As a black filmmaker, you have to say something positive. You owe it to your community to say something worthwhile.”

38:48Copy video clip URL Excerpt from “Straight out of Brooklyn” by Matty Rich. A scene from Matty Rich’s first feature film. A black couple argues about how to make it in America. “There is no wrong way out of here. Look over there. [Points to Manhattan skyline.] You see that? You think they did that the right way? Know how they did that? By stepping on the black man, by stepping on the black family…”

39:30Copy video clip URL More from “Driving Through Watts.” Lang and Woods argue about the importance of names and political correctness. Lang: “I’m not going to call you African-American… It’s a pseudo-statement.” Woods replies, “I call you what you want to be called.” “Call me Baby Doll,” says Lang, to which Woods says, “Baby Doll, I don’t mind that at all.”

40:03Copy video clip URL “Black Memorabilia Show” by Eddie Becker. A visit to a convention of black memorabilia collectors in Washington, D.C. Collectors debate the issue of whether painful representations of African Americans should be buried or saved as reminders of the past struggle. A black woman points to a collection of “colored” restroom signs and says, “We need to have these up in our home so our children know.”

42:28Copy video clip URL “Framing the Panthers” by Chris Bratton, Annie Goldson. This piece examines the FBI campaign targeting the Black Panthers and black civil rights activists, dealing specifically with the struggle of Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a Black Panther who was imprisoned for 19 years before having his sentence overturned. From jail, Wahad explains the FBI ‘s method of influencing public opinion: “The first thing you have to do to oppress a people is to denigrate their humanity.” His interviews are intertwined with archival footage from FBI training films and footage of Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and social service programs run by the Black Pant hers. Huey Newton claims, “The police occupy our communities like a foreign troop occupying a territory.” We learn the history of Wahad’s arrest and court appeals, followed by his triumphant release from jail in 1990.

49:35Copy video clip URL “Mandela in America” by Globalvision. Betty Shabazz (Malcolm X’ s wife) and Winnie Mandela (Nelson Mandela’s wife), talk about the legacy of Malcolm X.

50:24Copy video clip URL “El Dorado Park, South Africa” by Andrew Jones. A piece about El Dorado Park, S.A., a “colored” township where blacks (and other ethnic minorities) were forced to live under apartheid. There are currently 300,000 residents. Jones interviews various “colored” individuals (who may be black, Indian, Chinese, or any combination), who describe the indignities of apartheid. One man points out the racial codes listed in every passport. “Black to us is not a skin color, it is a political position.” A black man concludes, “I have outgrown apartheid. I am a man. Period.”

54:43Copy video clip URL “Fran and Tak” by Skip Blumberg. Fran Korenman talks about her mother’s reaction to her husband Takayoshi Yoshida. She says it was easier for her Jewish mother to deal with their interracial relationship when Tak demonstrated a minimal knowledge of Yiddish.

55:46Copy video clip URL “Charles Cooke” by Jay April. Charles Cooke, a Chumash Indian Chief, is asked about his feelings about involving whites in his struggles for Native American rights. He replies, “You have to have the camaraderie, that fellowship, that brotherhood. That creates this type of thing where people have to come together.”

57:04Copy video clip URL Contact information for The 90’s, then Gil Scott-Heron’s song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” plays while footage of protesters are shown under the credits.

58:43Copy video clip URL End of tape.


1 Comment

  1. This is great! I am teaching the Color Line and also given what is going on in Ferguson Missouri, it is a teaching moment for us educators and activist. My course is on-line how can I get permission to imbed this project into my course? Also have you filmed anything recently?
    Thank you.
    Professor Rosemari Mealy

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