White Right: Meeting the Enemy 2017
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 115 W. 29th Street, Suite 1200,New York, NY, 10001; 212-925-0606
Produced by Darin Prindle
Directed by Deeyah Khan
DVD, color, 88 min.
High School - General Adult
Date Entered: 12/11/2018Reviewed by Christopher Lewis, American University Library, American University
In 2016, filmmaker Deeyah Khan was interviewed on BBC about racial diversity in the United Kingdom and the need to learn to live together. The interview went viral and Ms. Khan received a torrent of vile threats in the aftermath. After experiencing hateful comments throughout her life, having grown up as a Muslim in Norway, Ms. Khan chose not to hide from the aggression but to reach out to leaders of the white nationalist movement, including Richard Spencer and participants in the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, to try to understand why they are drawn to the movement.
It is evident in the film that Ms. Khan has taken time to get to know her interview subjects. She treats them with respect and kindness. As a result, she comes away with some remarkably revealing profiles that will give the viewer some insight into the psychology of the movement. The subjects give rationales of rough upbringings, historical revisionism, loneliness, and youthful hooliganism. At times some are at a loss for words when asked to explain their attitudes or sound like adolescents pretending to be tough guys.
Surprisingly she is ultimately able to walk away not only unscathed but with some satisfaction that she spread a little bit of tolerance and empathy among them. The participants represent a small fraction of the movement but Ms. Khan’s documentary leaves one with the impression that familiarity and kindness are keys to unraveling the psychology of racial hatred.
In 2018, it won an Emmy in the Current Affairs category.