Difficult Questions with Glen Dunzweiler

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Difficult Questions - Is Race Racist?

by Glen Dunzweiler
September 28th 2020
Glen Dunzweiler explores how race is used in our society and what good it could bring to people - if any.
Hey, this is Glen Don's Wyler, filmmaker, producer entrepreneur. And this is another episode of difficult questions. Again, I don't pretend to have the answers, but I found that when I ask the difficult questions we can come up with solutions. And this episode is on race specifically is race racist? My friend says that it's not and we need to discuss it, but then she said, you need to be careful what you say and be careful how you say it. So my conclusion is maybe race is inherently racist. What is my motivation for doing this? Because when you talk about race, you're always suspect about someone's motivation. I grew up in a very diverse community in South Sacramento in the 70s, 80s and early 90s and we always celebrated culture, at least in my view, and race was never really given any weight.

So I want to find out because we give race a lot of weight. I want to explore why we're giving it that weight. And if it can ever do anything positive, this is not an academic, there is no race. Video Race is something that is thrust upon you. It was developed as a weapon and I want to see if we can actually do something positive with it. I view race like nuclear energy, it was developed to destroy and now we're trying to turn it into something positive but to use it for good. But there is so much nuclear waste that comes along with it, there's so much negative byproduct. I don't know if it's possible. Race started out as you look like this so therefore you are this this and this we've tried to turn it into, I look like this.

So therefore culture when really I think it should be, I look like this and that does not matter at all. You don't know me and I belong at this table. Race equals pain. I mean at some point someone was criticized for the race or discriminated against because of their race. I also noticed that race is used oftentimes for substitute for poverty. I'll give you an example. My mother always talked about light Germans versus dark Germans. Now my mother was blonde hair, blue eyed, my father was brown hair, brown eyed. My mother also came from white collar business class, upper middle class. My father came from very much blue collar, working class and his family was what you'd call scrappy.

So every time my mother would talk about this light german versus dark german, my dad would just roll his eyes because lady, what are you talking about? Are you, are you insulting dark people? And uh, I think that that that's what we run into. Every time we talk about race, you are in jeopardy of insulting someone. My grandmother wanted, my mother tells me wanted a blue eyed grand baby. Well I have hazel eyes. So what am I when we talk about race were also possibly affecting someone's self esteem. I used to teach lighting design and I used to tell my students you are all beautiful no matter what you look like. You are all beautiful. And the way the light hits your face and cast shadows on your facial features and the color of the light and the way that picks up the pigment in your skin.

It's all beautiful. It's the lighting designer's job to make you the most beautiful version of you. You can be and you are already beautiful because we need to talk about skin tone and we need to talk about facial features devoid of social implication. And what race has done is it has tied those two together. What I look like. Mhm is who I am as a person or my worth as a human being. And I don't think that gets us anywhere. Even if we try to spin it and say I am this color. Therefore I am proud. The worst culprit is the what are you questions And we asked that on our senses, our census first asked what are we because we want it wanted to know if we had the right to vote. Now everyone has the right to vote. Why are we still asking it? Well, people say it's for gerrymandering strategy to stop people from from gerrymandering voting districts.

But I don't know that that advantage is worth asking that that question because that question equates to pain much of the time I was living with someone who was of mexican descent and the census taker came by and she wasn't at home. So I told them my race mostly german white and said the person I was living with was from Mexico. So hispanic and they wanted to know well what type of hispanic? I don't know. So, I figured all right. Well, I remember some great things in history about Mayans and I see on the checklist there are Mayans there. So I just check Mayan when she gets home. I tell her, well the census came and I said you were Mayan what Mayans are short people and I am tall. I am not mine. Whoa.

All of a sudden I have inflicted pain on this person somehow. Her identifying as Mayan was an insult. Now, no insult to Mayans. No insult to people of short stature, Be proud of who you are, you are beautiful. But this race thing just insults people and it hurts people. And I don't know if we can ever get away from that. And with that we also use race in comparison to other races and in comparison within races to insult and try and prop ourselves up or we can't talk about certain subjects because it's automatically racist because it's a negative societal complication. For example, a friend of mine, he's black and he posted that black people forgive white people more than they forgive each other.

That's incendiary because someone is looking at that and saying someone outside of the culture could possibly weaponize this criticism and we can't even have that, we can't chance that criticism at the same time. We also have cultures both inside and outside culture say, well if this culture does this, why can't this culture do that? If this culture succeeds, why can't this culture succeed? And again, you're insulting people, you're causing pain because you're tying what they look like, their identity to something negative. And I think one of the strategies is to build constant positive role models because at some point, the way you look is a role model and now I want to get into a story that resonated with me.

And again, it was it was not a good story in the media Rachel Dolezal for those of you who don't remember who she is. She grew up white person and she darkened herself and became a chapter President of the Now darkening yourself. There's a history black face that's a that that is a difficult subject at some point, some white people were making fun of and belittling black people and pretending there were black people, There's that history there. So if if a white person darkens themselves, you're going into blackface territory, you're going into insult another. You have a white person leading a chapter of the N double A cp. So you have this idea that what black people can't lead the N double A cp, we gotta get a white person to do it.

It's an absolute insult. Also you have this trickery. These people felt that they were betrayed. They thought this was some person and they were not, it was not a person now, I don't know Rachel Dolezal, but I watched the documentary Honor and man, there was pain. She obviously, but for whatever reason, she did not feel home with the people that she grew up with and she found a home with the people that she found now strategies decide I'm not darkening myself, but I can absolutely relate to that. I grew up a very awkward kid and I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere. When I was in high school, when I entered high school, I had a friend, fortunately he was in the drumline. I was a drummer was in band. Uh and he vouched for me so I could be in the drum line too.

So my friend Jason, it's a white guy vouch for me and I got to go into the drum line and the drumline happened to be made up of Jason and myself to white guys, a filipino dude And about eight black guys. So for two years, those people were my family. I learned camaraderie, I learned acceptance, I learned discipline. I learned work ethic. It was a huge positive role model. Now did it matter that these most of these gentlemen were black? No, they just happened to be black. But what that did is that imprinted a positive role model in my head and to this day, as silly as it is. I go to networking events. I find the black guy because he is my home. It's visually it's ridiculous. But it's like this settling of my heart and I think that there is that visual component to race that we have, it's there, we can't deny it.

But what do we do with it? Because so often it turns into something just not nice. Right? one of the things that I think we can do is we have to build trust with each other and there's no other way to do that than meeting each other. Um I've noticed when people can talk about race freely and openly without judgment and without suspecting that other people are judging them, that's when things can can grow positively. But that trust has to be built and talking about race with someone that you don't know or we're talking about their skin color with someone that that has not built that trust with you builds animosity, builds self esteem issues. So it's all about building trust I think and how do we build that trust?

We can't get away from race being a real thing being something that affects us, our visual component to who, what continent this person's ancestors came from somehow rings in our head and as much as I would like to say, let's not pay attention to race. I'm currently my next film that I'm developing is about my friend. It's a it's a biopic and he grew up in the south side of Chicago. He's a black guy and This cast is 95% black. It's a black success story. And when I'm building interest for the film, of course I'm talking about race because tonally it's like a coen brothers film. And I say in the marketing, it's like a big Lebowski with black people and that keys people in, they know what it is. They know they can put it, they can categorize it.

And I think that this that categorizing is something that makes us feel as humans in control. So we understand it. If we can categorize it, we understand it. And so if it's a film about black culture, we understand that yet. I don't know that. I I still argue that that there's this conundrum of using race. Why are we talking about race? It's a group of people that just happened to be black. Something I don't know if we can I don't know how to navigate. I don't know how to navigate. So what are some solutions? I've talked to some people and these are kind of four different solutions that that people have have have given me that. I have seen one. We can deny that race exists. We don't live in that world. Race is not what I'm about. I'm a human being, I'm a person, I belong at this table. It doesn't matter what I look like and that gets very hard to live when you see people around you being discriminated against because of the way they look like and they look exactly like you.

So if you're part of that race to deny that is very difficult. However, the people that do it, they refuse to have their self esteem knocked down. They refused to be told that they don't belong at the table. So they just constantly live in that mindset and hopefully you get enough people doing that, just absolutely refusing to have their self esteem knocked down, refusing to be marked as bad, that eventually it rolls through and you build more people and you build more people very difficult. I think it's kind of called has has idea of a philosophy of living in abundance. And that's a very difficult way because you're always thinking positive. You're always thinking forward, never let any of the negative stuff get into your head. Don't let it hurt your heart, hurt your emotions. Mhm. Another this person that that that lives in this positive mindset.

She also does uh immediate correction. So, she had someone make a comment about her skin color. It was a joke and she corrected them immediately. She said, I don't know you that way. Please do not talk about my skin color. It has no relevance on our relationship and that makes people aware now. And she was done with it. After that happened. She were back in this working relationship. But she let it be known that what that person said was not cool? So there's that correction, there's segregation. I worked with a guy that said I had to move out of the south because either I was going to kill somebody or as I was going to get killed. That's harsh, right? And we've got people that want to believe in race, they want to believe in segregation. So I don't know that self segregation is the best thing, but it's definitely a strategy. The fourth strategy is a strategy that I like the best because I came from a very diverse community In the early 90s, the media talked about the browning of America and it was this idea that at some point someone is going to marry and have Children with or have Children with someone that has different skin tone and facial features and culture than their own because we're such a melting pot in the United States and it was going to happen.

Well, it's not because what we're 2020 and white people are still having babies with white people and hanging out with white people exclusively. Black people are still having babies with black people and hanging out with black people exclusively Asian people are still having babies with Asian people and hanging out with Asian people exclusively. So there is this idea this this Rachel Dolezal thing of you look like me, so I want to hang out with you. So we do this self segregation, which I think it doesn't help. But what do you do with that? Is that a negative thing? Is that a positive thing? Is that a proud thing? Is that um a shame on you thing? I mean, I'm not telling anybody who they can be attracted to, who they can have kids with and who they can hang out with, but um that that that cultural mixing, if it doesn't happen, someone's always foreign. You know, you you don't grow up with someone, you maybe don't have a positive role model of whatever that person looks like.

So I don't know. The last thing I want to do is ask some questions. Do physical features equate culture, and is that important? And how important is that? And how many variables are we going to allow? And how are we going to define that? And the last question is can we discuss race? Physical features where what part of the continent your ancestors came from without societal implications. Can we ever do that? Can we ever try, Can we ever lay everything out on the table? Get rid of judgment. Focus on the positive role models, positive aspects of culture too. Actually tackle the negative things that are happening. This is my episode on Race. I hope you enjoyed it. It was a tough one, I was this is my third incarnation, because I, Race is inherently racist. Thank you very much

Difficult Questions - Is Race Racist?
Difficult Questions - Is Race Racist?
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