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Being White

Cat No: DSS0001
Duration: 00:29:20
Date: 1987
Location: Albany, London
Original format: Umatic
Colour: Colour

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Synopsis

Being White gathers various white people to discuss issues related to skin colour and the injustice of white privileges, as well as the prejudice towards ethnic minorities, especially black people. Different communities (e.g. English, Irish, Jewish) are represented. The issues related to racism in England are particularly linked to the country's imperialist and cultural history, and to the political climate of the 1980s with Margaret Thatcher in office. In addition, some of the participants denounce the absurd stereotypes that still have an effect on education, as they are presented in children books and child care guides.

Production Credits

Tony Dowmunt
Geoff Stow, Carol Stevens
Brian Cohen, Val Goodman, Dave Harper, Jackie Jolly, Rachel Martin, Jane Pepper, Maura Rafferty, Jenny Reid, Peggy Taggart, John Walton - the group; Barbary Holland, Buddy Larrier - group facilitators; Mavis Clark, Rooney Martin - script;  Tony Dowmunt, Carol Jacobs, Tessa Matthews, Carol Stevens, Geoff Stow, Trix Worrell - technical crew; Tony Dowmunt - editor; Tony Dowmunt, Rooney Martin - producers; Tony Dowmunt, Mavis Clark, Rooney Martin, Kobena Mercer - direction. An Albany Video production in association with the Federation of Community Work Training Groups.

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Previous Comments

Wow was amazing to see this again. As Im sure you know mum (Rooney) isnt here so I will treasure this. And share it with My children. And a shame we are still fighting the same battles..... Thanks to the Albany who played such a huge part in my Life,

Rachel Martin - Peer
24th June 2018

Review for Sheffield Docfest - June 2019 An eye-opening yet sadly unsurprising delve into race, Being White explores what whiteness meant to Brits in 1980s London. When asked what being white meant, the response that it felt “normal” is telling, that lack of a need to define an identity, where any other identity is “not normal”. An attitude that, even today, is not uncommon. The views of non-English white communities still told of discrimination that is reminiscent of the treatment of Eastern European immigrants today, that pure Englishness is superior to everything, that it includes the white, middle class status quo. Most striking, however, is the lack of progression that the English psyche has made since these dark, Thatcherite times. Rhetoric still defined by the front pages of The Sun, generalising comments based on the actions of ethnic individuals, bananas and monkey chants being thrown at Premier League football players, etc. are all still happening today, only now they mostly take the form of comments sections online. Being White is a haunting reminder that 2019 hasn’t seen the evolution of a more civilised society where equality reigns true, it’s merely the same society, simply with new tools, such as wifi and smart phones.

Shireen Hilmi
7th June 2019