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ColorOf Fear part 1

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    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0484384/
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    [ominous music in background, soundscape... sounds like a heartbeat]
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    I asked for directions,
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    and this guy gave me directions,
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    and I noticed in his hand he had a knife,
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    and he had the knife out,
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    and that that knife was about this long...
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    [another voice] He came up to me and he said
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    "Let me see your license",
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    and then he spit at my shoe.
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    In Atlanta...
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    one inch from my shoe...
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    I mean, it felt like he was saying "motherfucker, make a move"...
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    I was the only white worker
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    got beat up and got it taken away...
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    You look more white than we do...
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    I may look more white but no way do I cross that line...
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    ...the fear is still there because I know it can happen...
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    because it has happened,
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    not to me...
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    but to other people who look just like me...
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    Another one went in the laundromat at another time,
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    came up to me with a $10 bill
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    and waved it in front of me, said
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    "change? change?"
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    and she was anunciating very carefully...
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    we always _ you baby, always,
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    every day.
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    We ride up here... it's all oh man where are we now??
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    oh god! I hate being out of the city!
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    Because I know who's out here"
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    You block your progress...
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    I block my own progress?
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    You know, as I look around this room,
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    I realize, you know, the connection is really me,
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    because I actually know each one of you in a very special way,
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    some of you I just met actually.
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    Each of you were picked very particularly,
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    and it took time to do that.
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    Each of you were picked for your honesty,
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    and for your directness,
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    and for your sincerity,
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    and for the work that you do, too, on yourself.
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    That's why I really wanted to have you on film.
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    And your ethnicity?
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    I am American.
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    Generations back, we came from England and Denmark,
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    but mostly when they got into America here,
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    whatever happened, we got mixed up,
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    so I'm American.
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    A white American I guess.
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    My father is Mexican, my mother is Irish.
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    African, and, some ways back, Cherokee descent.
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    I'm a 3rd generation Japanese American man.
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    I'm 7th, at least 7th generation Euro-American.
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    Um, I have family is, on both sides, is Scot,
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    and on my father's side is also English and German.
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    I'm uh, I'm Mexican.
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    I'm Latino, I'm Mexican,
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    a Mexican-American, I'm Chicano.
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    I am Chinese, and I'm Chinese-American.
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    I am an American also.
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    I am an all-American man,
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    and the reason I say that is that
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    I was born here, educated here, and that makes me American.
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    But I do always want to be identified as African-American or Black,
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    not just an American.
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    The reason why I'm here,
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    and I'm glad to be here,
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    is because I have a lot of anger,
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    and this is a positive outlet for that anger.
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    I could do a lot of destructive things,
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    but that would be, that wouldn't be productive whatsoever.
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    I'm here because, um, I'm a racist.
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    And I've been working at it for, that being un-learning that, since '76.
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    And I've still got it, and there's a lot of pain around that.
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    And I'm nervous about being here, cause I don't know what's gonna happen.
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    I think one of the ways I've survived racism
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    is to be in complete control,
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    and I'm not in complete control here [laughs].
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    So I'm a little worried about that.
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    And I'm just, y'know, trippin' on the, y'know, walkin' in here and seein' who was here.
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    I didn't expect white men to be here.
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    I'm a local boy, grown, raised right here in this small community,
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    and when the subject of racism was mentioned to me,
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    I found it extremely exciting
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    because I grew up in this area,
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    with friends of all races,
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    and we would read in the news,
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    see on the television,
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    of racial struggles in other areas,
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    and could not comprehend how that could be.
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    Why they had to cause struggle and strife for each other.
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    Why couldn't they be just like at home?
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    Happy and productive together.
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    Ad I don't think that anybody should be any less than another.
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    Uh, I grew up in this area right alongside the Native Americans,
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    and some of them to this day are my dearest friends,
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    and ... I like their cultures, yes.
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    And I even seek after artifacts from their history...
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    but there's no struggle or strife,
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    we don't cause it.
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    In Chinese, y'know, the word "American" really means "white" to us;
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    and uh, that's why today I actually will not use the word American either,
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    because I do believe that it really does not incorporate all of us.
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    That there really still is not that political, social, and economic equality.
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    And when that day comes, I'll be the first to stand up and say "I'm an American,
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    and stand with everyone".
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    Uh, but until I feel that, I think that I'll always feel that I have to say Chinese,
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    so that people know who I am.
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    3 years ago I went to Japan.
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    I said, I gotta go find my roots,
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    and find out who I really am.
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    Applied for the passport, filling out the things,
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    and ... nationality, it says "American".
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    Said to my wife "I can't put down 'American', I'm not 'American'".
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    She says "yeah, you're American, you gotta put down American".
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    I said "I'm Japanese".
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    You're not Japanese, you're American!
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    And I said, I can't do that.
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    I've never in my life claimed myself to be...
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    and I just said, like, well I'm gonna put Japanese down.
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    She says "you're not from Japan!"
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    [laughing]
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    you know?
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    "You were born here, you're American"
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    And... it just... I was just blown away by...
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    y'know, for the first time I had to put that down,
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    otherwise it would've been rejected,
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    I had no choice in that.
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    Do you think that we don't get excited as Americans
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    when you say you are something other than just American?
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    I got excited when Mun Wah said to us that he is Chinese American,
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    why can't he be just American,
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    and excited about being just American like David is?
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    Wait a minute, I just...
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    He calls himself an American...
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    But I'm doing that for a very specific purpose...
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    I'm doing it because I'm turning my identity as American
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    to fight against the white supremacist notion
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    that only white people merit the status of the title of American.
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    Well I agree with that...
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    I refuse to to be segregated to, or to be allocated to a lower status
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    by not being recognized as an American.
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    I like that attitude, and I think that's a correct and proper attitude...
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    But I'm also Chinese and very proud of that,
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    and for a person to look at me and say "you're just",
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    for a white person to look at me and say "you're just like me, we're both American"
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    totally insults me because it denies my identity as a Chinese person too.
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    I feel in a sense that I have a claim to be American
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    in ways that you don't.
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    Because my people came from this continent.
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    My ancestors came across the Bering Straight from Asia,
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    and came down the coast,
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    and on into central Mexico,
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    and others of my ancestors came from Arabia,
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    through Egypt, through north Africa, and into Spain.
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    And then they all melted together in central Mexico.
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    America is not the United States.
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    America is the entire continent.
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    But we think here, or Americans here think that America means just this country.
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    And so I feel like I have, you know,
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    I've been in kind of...
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    I don't want to say "I have...",
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    cause I don't feel it like that,
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    but my people, the people that I come from,
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    have been sort of robbed of that term.
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    We're not Americans,
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    even though WE ARE, [voice cracking]
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    and, I don't know where that came from.
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    I don't know where that came from,
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    but, um, you know, when you say you know "I wish you would be American,
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    or you would all agree to be American",
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    you know what, what is presented to me as an American,
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    does not look like me,
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    does not think like me,
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    does not smell like me,
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    does not cry like me,
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    does not play like me.
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    So for me to say that,
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    to use that as my primary identification,
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    for me, it means to deny
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    all, nearly all of me.
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    I worked in corporate America for awhile,
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    and now when I see guys walkin' down the street in a suit and tie,
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    I'm like whew, I bet he can't wait to go home and become a black man again.
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    You know?
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    Because you're not allowed to be a black man in corporate America.
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    Walk through some halls with some pride,
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    you're gonna scare some people.
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    Show that you have some intelligence,
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    you scare people.
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    You gotta shuffle.
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    It's a 1993 shuffle, but it's still a shuffle.
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    You give us a hard time for being white,
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    and being American,
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    and being in control.
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    I've never felt in control.
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    I had vineyards, and pear orchards for many years,
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    and I employed many of your people,
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    if you wish to call them that,
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    they're my dear friends,
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    to me they are friends,
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    equal to any that I would have.
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    And I greet them,
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    and now they come into my business and they just want to come in and say hi and talk to me.
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    There is something different that's happened.
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    What's different that's happened for us,
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    and I'm speaking as a people,
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    borders on genocide,
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    takeover,
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    colonization,
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    you know what happenes to me when I pass a mission?
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    Yknow?
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    Not the same thing that happens to every group that passes a mission.
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    There's something different.
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    When I hear Father Junipero Serra, what do you think I think of?
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    You know?
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    It's not...
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    it's chopping off hands,
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    it's slavery,
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    I mean, you know, that's what's different,
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    and it gets tiring to not have that difference known.
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    It gets tiring to not have that difference acknowledged,
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    and to have to keep talking about it.
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    That's what gets tiring.
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    So I see here an attitude expressed by Yutaka and by Roberto
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    that says how can I be an American? I can't.
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    And so I won't.
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    I'm going to cling to my heritage.
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    Is this clinging the problem?
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    Is this belief that you cannot become American the problem?
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    For years, I've said why do these guys have such a problem being a colour?
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    Why can't they just be individuals?
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    And go out and make a place for themselves?
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    And I hear you saying that we whites don't allow that.
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    That we keep you down,
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    why aren't we just humans?
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    I mean, why aren't we just... brothers?
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    There's a certain um, um, sort of, silent consciousness
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    about what it mean to be American,
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    that I sense coming from, uh. white folks,
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    that I'd like to talk about.
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    But before I do that,
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    I'd like to say one more thing that's tired about talking about racism,
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    and that is that, uh, you know,
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    people of colour are spilling their guts,
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    and "doing education" uh, to white people.
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    "Let me explain to you how you got this wrong...
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    let me explain to you how you got that wrong...
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    let me explain..."
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    and then we get cross-examined,
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    and it's like "well, maybe you're problem is ... bababababa???"
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    And it's always, you know, racism gets looked at as a person of colour's problem,
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    and it's not.
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    You know, we're like on the receiving end of the problem,
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    but we are not the problem.
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    Y'know, I walk in a world where, uh,
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    where black people, where Latinos, where Asians, where Arabs,
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    all these different people are... experienced as problem people,
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    and that "well, we're gonna deal with the...with the person of colour problem..."
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    when in fact, uh, racism is essentially a white problem.
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    And that for you to understand what racism is about,
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    you're gonna be so uncomfortable,
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    you're gonna be so different from who you see yourself to be now,
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    that uh, you know, there's just no way for you to get it from where you're sitting.
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    And I'm not saying that you could not ever get it,
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    I mean that you need to step outside of your skin,
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    and step out...
Title:
ColorOf Fear part 1
Description:

(1994)
Eight North American men, two African American, two Latinos, two Asian American and two Caucasian were gathered by director Lee Mun Wah, for a dialog about the state of race relations in America as seen through their eyes. The exchanges are sometimes dramatic, and put in plain light the pain caused by racism in North America.

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
15:01
Radical Access Mapping Project edited English subtitles for ColorOf Fear part 1
Radical Access Mapping Project added a translation

English subtitles

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