By Robert Waldman
Black Lives Matter. Three words that set the world ablaze owing to one painful Incident. So a movement was born. See the genesis of this centuries old tragedy unfold in a new documentary called Who Are We: A Chroncile of Racism in America. Though this insightful look at a painful era in American history could easily be transformed to other countries as many nations shared an equally troubled past this story is riveting. High fives go out to Sony Pictures Classics and Mongrel Media for helping shine a light on a truly troubling time in American history – both past and present. Check this movie out at The VanCity Theatre before it comes out on DVD and streaming services a few months down the road.
Former ACLU executive Jeffery Robinson was in the right place at the right time and does an outstanding job describing in easy to understand ways how we got to where we are today in the United States. And what a painful journey it is. Through heart-felt at times gut-wrenching interviews Robinson delves deep into the Deep South to reveal how the cotton-picking days of The Civil War era led to forced breeding and ultimately created two different classes of people. Used as indentured pawns were slaves brought over from Africa while wealthy white plantation owners reaped ( and often raped) the benefits.
Law enforcement, or more precisely lack thereof, helped fuel the injustice and this film cleverly draws comparisons between now and then. Vivid footage of acts of discrimination, vandalism, violence and lynchings will provoke pain, hurt and anger. Despite all the horrors revealed here that were often institutionalized and state sanctioned there were moments of friendship and bravery as some well-intentioned white people helped Negroes face down this terror and did the right thing,
Shocking. Provocative and truthful Who Are We is a film that accurately reflects the pain, oppression and suffering of a people who were taken advantage of in often inhumane ways. Written by Robinson and directed by the daughters of former left leaning Chicago Seven maverick lawyer William Kunstler the only blemish on this jarring documentary is that it was partly financed by an equally repulsive Anti Semitic racist Corporation, a modern day plantation polluter and purvayer of propagandist filth if there ever was one.
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