Filmmakers Look At The Myths Of Racism

A scene from WHOSE STREETS?, a Magnolia Pictures release.
A scene from WHOSE STREETS?, a Magnolia Pictures release.

Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis’ new documentary “Whose Streets?” may take the recent racial justice movement out of Ferguson, Mo., as its main focus, but its scope and significance are far broader.

Take, for example, Foyalan’s comment to Robert Scheer in this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence,” in which she quickly dispenses with one of several lingering national fantasies about racial relations in the U.S.:

As with the geographical distinctions (or lack thereof) that some white Americans would like to make when it comes to tracking contemporary bigotry, “Whose Streets?” also spells out how Missouri is “the new Mississippi.” Translation: Racism isn’t a thing of the past.

Scheer agrees and asks whether Foyalan and Davis’ film doesn’t make a strong argument about black Americans being treated as a disposable population. The filmmakers speak to the systemic neglect that ravages African-American communities around the country, how St. Louis functions simultaneously as a remnant of the old South and as a modern city, and how to find hope in a bleak climate of hate.

“I really want for those of us who are on the receiving end of systemic oppression to understand that we can find dignity in resistance,” Foyalan says.

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