It’s unlikely that any lecture documentary since “An Inconvenient Reality” has had the galvanizing potential of “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” — and if that seems like faint reward, it isn’t meant that approach.
The movie presents a chat that the lawyer Jeffery Robinson (a former deputy authorized director on the A.C.L.U.) gave at City Corridor in New York on Juneteenth 2018. His topic is nothing lower than the historical past of anti-Black racism in the USA.
For Robinson’s arguments, the historic proof is in plain sight, but a lot of it, as he guarantees, could also be new to many viewers. He exhibits how the text of Article V of the Constitution shielded slavery from amendments till 1808, reads from Accomplice states’ secession statements and has a refrain carry out the disfavored third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The movie, directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler (daughters of the Chicago Seven lawyer William Kunstler), intersperses scenes of Robinson touring the nation. He visits Charleston, the place fingerprints from slave labor can nonetheless be seen; Staten Island, the place he meets with Eric Garner’s mom; and his native Memphis, the place his mother and father needed to devise a workaround to purchase a house as a Black household.
Robinson brings nuance to matters — unconscious bias, reparations, learn how to cope with the truth that George Washington owned slaves — which have change into flash factors in society, with out ever dropping the core of his progressive message. It’s a confrontational movie, however by no means an alienating one, and a lot of what’s in it’s persuasive.
Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Rated PG-13. Dialogue and imagery of racist violence, and derogatory language. Working time: 1 hour 57 minutes. In theaters.