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Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

A Question of Color

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $49.00 Date: Copyright 1992. Released 1992.
  • Descriptors: Racism. Blacks.
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Kathe Sandler. Directed by Kathe Sandler. Color. Also available in 3/4 inch. Stereo. Includes Study guide. 58 min.
  • Available from: California Newsreel 149 9th St., #420 San Francisco, CA 94103 (415)621-6196
  • Cataloging: 305.896'073 Afro-Americans - Social conditions||Racism||Prejudices||Racially mixed people - United States
  • Print Entry #: 4:411
  • Reviewer: Mary Lou Ingram

    As the United States continues to struggle with its endemic racism, African Americans must also deal with their own caste system based on how closely an individual conforms to a European "ideal." This video says it is the first documentary to confront color consciousness in the African-American community.

    Many African Americans of all ages and shades, and from all walks of life discuss their experiences with the color question. Their psychological and emotional turmoil is obvious as those with darker skins recall how they have been put down and devalued, while those with lighter skins have often felt excluded and ridiculed because of their presumed sense of superiority. The program is particularly sensitive to the special burden placed on black women as a result of their skin color, perhaps because the producer/director herself is very light while her sister and mother have darker skin.

    Archival footage from the 1960s Black Is Beautiful movement shows the attempts to put positive values on African physical and cultural characteristics, but the pain evinced by the people in the video is proof that the question of color remains a problem in the African-American community. The sound is good throughout the video. There are no fancy camera angles, just a straight focus on each speaker, which lends an immediacy and power to what is being said.

    A Question of Color would be an excellent discussion starter in classes or groups (high school through adult) studying black history, psychology, sociology, and related fields. It was indicated that a study guide was available, but it did not accompany the review copy.

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