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.


  • Racism 101
  • Rating: ***
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $300.00
  • Date: Copyright 1988. Released 1988.
  • Descriptors: Racism. Colleges and universities.
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Tom Lennon, Orlando Bagwell. Color. 58 min.
  • Production Company: Documentary Consortium
  • Available from: PBS Video 1320 Braddock Pl. Alexandria, VA 22314-1698 (703)739-5380
  • ISBN: ISBN 1-55951-242-3.
  • Cataloging: 303.385 Race awareness||Afro-American college students
  • Awards: National Educational Film & Video Festival Bronze Apple award, 1989.
  • Print Entry #: 1:580
  • Reviewer: Joyce Drzal

    From the Frontline series, Racism 101 is a thought-provoking and disturbing program. It raises questions about discrimination and reverse discrimination and offers opinions from opposing points of view, yet doesn't come to any conclusions or offer concrete solutions to the problem at hand. And no wonder - a legitimate objection to the airing of racial jokes at a University of Michigan campus radio station gets out of hand when students demand tenure for all black faculty members and money for an all-black student union. A bona fide complaint is negated by going overboard. By not focusing attention on the issue itself, the group of dissenters lose credibility by making unreasonable demands.

    Integration works both ways, yet one black student tells the interviewer that they (blacks) exclude whites because whites are "different" from them. A black member of a white fraternity is upset because his fellow blacks are angry at him for being an "oreo," for trying to integrate. One student remarks that blacks want to keep their identity, but then objects to other groups who want to do the same. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    Serious issues are raised by this program, which deals mainly with black-white prejudices. A few glossed-over comments about Jews, Hispanics, and Asians are included which, if expanded, would make for more comprehensive coverage of this issue, as racism extends beyond color lines.

    Because of the potential this production has to generate discussion, it would be a good acquisition for high school, college, and public libraries. It raises issues relevant to humanity, to all of us, i.e., that while we are individuals in our own right, we are also rooted in a deeper sense of ancestry. When we can all see ourselves as members of the human race, then maybe programs such as Racism 101 will be unnecessary. As it stands, however, programs such as this move us a step forward by providing recognition of the problem and, ultimately, a means to solutions.

    This documentary is well paced. The transitions from school to school across the country are smooth and flowing. The technical quality is indicative of the professional style of the Frontline series. The program's intentions are good but somehow miss the mark, like the people featured in this program.

    Go to Media Resources Center Entry Page

    Copyright (C) 1996 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley. All rights reserved.
    Document maintained on server: by
    Gary Handman, Head, Media Resources Center.
    Last update 7/25/96. Server manager: