A multi-racial group of college students in a weekend racial sensitivity workshop discuss affirmative action, self-segregation, internalized racism and cultural identity.
Skin Deep chronicles the eye-opening journey of a diverse and divided group of college students as they awkwardly but honestly confront each other's racial prejudices. Academy Award nominated filmmaker Frances Reid follows students from the University of Massachusetts, Texas A&M, Chico State, and U.C. Berkeley to a challenging racial awareness workshop where they confront each other's innermost feelings about race and ethnicity. She also accompanies them back to their campuses and on visits home in an attempt to understand why they think the way they do.
An Italian American from Boston asks why the African American students seem to look at everything in terms of race; he wants to be judged as an individual.
A Latina daughter of California farmworkers vigorously defends the affirmative action program which enabled her to go to college.
A Native American poignantly admits the pain of internalized racism which has long crippled his self-concept.
An African American woman says she's tired of having to correct white students for their blind, racist behavior - and is called hypersensitive.
A Vietnamese American comments that people have trouble remembering what his real name is.
Issues of self-segregation on campus, feelings of hurt and discrimination, conflicts over affirmative action, and ultimately, students' personal responsibility for making a difference all enter the interracial dialogue. The students eventually learn to hear each other, arrive at new levels of trust and understanding, and take their first tentative steps towards building community.
Skin Deep will trigger thoughtful discussion and encourage students to address the deep-seated barriers to building a campus climate which respects diversity. It is ideal for student development, residential life, counseling, and staff diversity training as well as courses in sociology, psychology, education, and ethnic and multicultural studies.
"An exemplary film which will enrich and deepen discussions by college students, faculty, and community groups addressing the complex issues of race and racism." - Dr. Reginald Wilson, Senior Scholar, American Council on Education "Captures the attitudes, experiences, and beliefs behind racial conflict on campus...Reveals aspects of racial ideology and all of its contradictory elements. Points the way towards increased tolerance of diversity." - Michael Omi, University of California, Berkeley "Captures the subtle nuances and the raw simplicities of today's students struggling to deal with racial, ethnic, and cultural differences. This is an important work." - Troy Duster, University of California, Berkeley
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