Roundtable on Community Change

Documentaries on Race and Racism

A Girl Like Me (2007), directed by Kiri Davis, explores the way racial stereotypes influence the self-image of African American young women and children. Davis interviews teenage black women about their experience with racialized standards of beauty, and replicates the Kenneth Clark Doll Test, to show how black girls and boys to this day associate whiteness with beauty and virtue and blackness with ugliness and vice.

Ethnic Notions (1986), directed Marlon Riggs, is an hour-long documentary on the history of demeaning black stereotypes and cultural representations, in film, music, and kitsch art, and advertising. It explains how mass media's images of African Americans perpetuate racism.

Race: The Power of An Illusion (2003), directed by Christine Herbes-Summers, is a series that investigates race as a political economic construction. It seeks to dispel the misconception that race is a biologically valid concept, and replace it with an investigation of race as a means of furthering and perpetuating white privilege.

Revolution '67 (2007), directed Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, documents the race riots in Newark, New Jersey in the summer of 1967. To illuminate the events and surrounding historical circumstances, the film employs archival footage and first person accounts from Newarks' citizens, as well as community leaders, civil rights activists, government officials, policemen, and national guardsmen. Revolution '67 investigates the role of law enforcement, and the combination of social, political, economic, and racial dynamics that provoked the riots.

When the Levees Broke (2006), directed by Spike Lee, explores the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans with interviews from residents and involved media, government, and non-profit figures. While not the film's exclusive focus, race and race relations figure prominently in this account of the local and national response to the hurricane.