The new documentary I'm Not Racist... Am I? shows the journey of 12 teenagers from New York City who meet over the course of a school year to talk about race and privilege in a series of workshops and in conversations with friends and family members. The film's director, Catherine Wigginton Greene, hopes the film will inspire others to recognize and interrupt racism in their own lives.
On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Wigginton Greene, as well as Iowa educators and students actively engaging in tough conversations about race and racism here in Iowa.
"Having tough conversations is important," says Jessica Welburn, an assistant professor of sociology & African American Studies at the University of Iowa, because "it's the first step to dismantling systems of oppression."
"We have to be open about what's going on in order to solve the problem. If we can't talk about things that are in fact racist, that serve to maintain systems of oppression, then we cannot dismantle those systems of oppression."
Examples of these systems include mass incarceration, residential segregation, and inequality in public education.
"Once you talk about these systems of oppression - talk about the factors that created them, that maintain them, and the ways in which we can dismantle them," she says, "it becomes more difficult to deny the existence of persistent racism."
A showing of the film is scheduled for May 11th, 2017 at 6pm at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines.