The Color of Fear

Anyone who has not seen this movie… I dunno how available it is from rental places or Netflix, but it is worth watching (so is last year’s Crash, btw).

It’s basically the conversation a bunch of ethnically diverse men have during a weekend retreat over racism. It is emotional at times and rational at times. All of the Teacher Education Program TAs watched it today, but we didn’t have much time to discuss what we saw.

One thing I wanted to say was that I completely understand how one of the men felt when he said that he is tired of having to explain things all the time to white folk. It makes me think about how guarded I am all the time in an unconscious way and how when I go and visit my family down in California and we go to a Chinese restaurant and everyone is Chinese, I can almost literally exhale and just relax. Not that I feel much discrimination up here in the Northwest.. not explicitly so, but it is always there, like a shadow from a moving cloud which sometimes becomes very oppressive and other times is hardly noticeable.

I also remember talking to an African-American friend of mine once about how we just know. We were able to communicate a feeling that we had without even saying anything somehow… The conversation went something like:

Him: You know that feeling when… and it is always there… but in the background, sort of?

Me: Yes, I do.

And I’m sorry, but that is about as best as I can explain it to white folk.

But I do still have to wonder how much of the feeling is something I’m bringing to the table?  In high school when I was rebuked by white girls, was it because of me or my race?  That nagging thing… race is always a factor.  I’d like to believe that it was me… or maybe not.. I don’t really know which is worse.

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2 thoughts on “The Color of Fear

  1. my question is, how are you reactioning and living differently than the girls that rebuked you? How are we the minority reacting differently? I watched that video and it made me realize even I being a minority (iam hispanic) have discriminated my own kind and caucasions as well. This vodeo was a reall eye opener for me. I kind felt thou that victor and the others use the greg I think that is his name, as a punching bag. Althought I can really understand how frustrating it is to get an american whom has never had to deal with this, to understand. In my class we discussed the issues of racism and discrimination. It was a good mixture of race among us as well. What really got to me was how ignorant this white girl said, ” well our younger generation are being educated about this and the issues with racism and discrimination is getting better. The older generation is where the problem is being they were taught to think differently”. well as you can guess it the rest of the white students agreed. Her ignorance was so frustrating! I spoke up to her and said NO. You are not the minority. You do not have to worry if the person inside the store is going to give you shitty customer service when you inter a store becuase you are hispanic or becuase you are acompanied by your boyfriend, whom is african american and has dread locks, therefore even assumes he smokes weed, is an aggressive and angry black man. You do not experience discrimination becuase your skin color is different! To be honest, yeah her ignorance pushed the wrong button.

  2. I think the problem is that a lot of poople don’t know they are being discriminatory. I mean, that white guy punching bag 🙂 said that he didn’t discriminate against “you people” when he was talking to Victor and the other minorities in the room. The oppressors (to use Freire’s terminology) often don’t think they are oppressing. And the oppressed fall into a pattern of oppression, just as you say. I, too, have discriminated against my own kind. It is hard not to fall into that pattern.

    Your question about how I am living my life differently than those white girls. Well, that’s a good question. But it makes me mad. Why do *I* have to be different? Why can’t they SEE? Why do *I* have to get them to change? I just think it is too much to bear sometimes.

    Thank you for your comment. It’s very insightful.

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