How Racism Harms White Americans 2013
Distributed by Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060; 800-897-0089
DVD , color, 88 min.
Sr. High - General Adult
Capitalism, History, Racism
Date Entered: 12/06/2013Reviewed by Timothy W. Kneeland, History and Political Science Department, Nazareth College of Rochester, Rochester, NY
How Racism Harms White Americans is a lecture by John H. Bracey Jr., covering the social and political costs to White Americans, especially women and the poor, that come from the racialized construction of American culture. Bracey, who is Professor and Chair of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, masterfully weaves a narrative history of the U.S. around the role that capitalism has played in racial constructions that impoverish and diminish the opportunities and freedoms of most Americans. Bracey connects racism to capitalism by explaining how it has been used to limit the rights of women and to maintain control on working class Americans to the benefit of those who are empowered through the capitalism economy. His lecture style is conversational and full of clever asides and colorful quotes.
The film uses little special effects and essentially the focal point is Bracey with an occasional use of visuals. The result is not particularly effective, as Bracey is positioned in front of a visually uninspiring backdrop. Furthermore, the images seem drawn from the public domain and are likely to be familiar to most audiences which will diminish their impact.
At 52 minutes the film is a bit long for a traditional college classroom and perhaps some high school class schedules as well. To overcome this problem, the film is segmented into useful blocks of time ranging from 1:53 minutes to 11:33 that cover topics in U.S. history. Thus, the most profitable use of the film might be to use these sections to supplement a survey course in U.S. or African American history.
Recommended for high school through adult aged audiences.