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Can White People talk about Racism? (Part 4 of 5)

Let’s face it.  Race is a tough subject to bring up.  Is there ever pushback from black people when white people talk about racism?  We’ll talk about white people leading conversations about race with Emmy award winning director Loki Mulholland.

Loki:  I mean, this is just to fair, because racism is a white person’s disease that we keep asking everyone else to solve. Now, there’s a lot of emotion involved in this, a lot more emotional investment for African Americans than it is for white people, clearly.  So, that’s going to come out from some people.   Again, they’re entitled to those opinions. But, yeah, you can feel like you’re getting piled on or whatever else, but why be in the game, if you’re just going to quit?

Loki:  People ask, “Do you ever get pushback from black people?” I’m like, “No, most pushback that I get is actually from white people.” There are some people who aren’t happy with me that are African American, I’m sure. That’s all right. There are people who said–look, there’s African Americans who aren’t happy with my mom. Good grief. That’s all right. But, that’s not all black people, just like, not all white people are racist, for goodness sakes. It can seem like that, but not every black person is an angry black person, either.  Even though the white people, anytime a black person says something oppositional or questions somebody, [a white person might say,] “Oh, well, they’re an angry black man.”  People go, “Well,” I get people like, “Is it unfair for you to be hired to talk about diversity inclusion? Who are you to talk about diversity inclusion.” I’m like, “Well, [I was hired] because they’re not going to listen to you, if you’re black.” Trust me, white people don’t listen to black people. If they’re talking about racism, they’re definitely not listening to that. Because, one, we go, “They have an agenda, because they’re black.”  It’s racism, so, of course, they have an agenda.

Loki:  There’s more of an inclination for a white person to listen to me talking about it, because also my mother. I get that little, I don’t want to call it a trump card, because I don’t curse. But, I had that little card. I can play my mom card, because she’s a civil rights activist. People can see that. There’s something to be said about that. It’s not for African Americans to go, “Oh, my gosh, thank goodness there’s a lot of white person who’s actually a decent human being,” like my mother. It’s for white people to go, “Oh, I didn’t know we were involved in the civil rights movement. Wow.” It’s something to stop and think. This wasn’t just a black issue. This is an American issue.

What do you think?  Check out our conversation….

Who gets more upset about conversations on racism: blacks or whites?

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Loki.

530: Films Combating Racism Directed by a Mormon

529: Son of a Civil Rights Icon

528: End of Slavery (in Utah???)

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Films Combating Racism Directed by a Mormon (Part 3 of 5)

The LDS Church has had a rough history when it comes to race, so it may surprise you to find out that one of its members has made several award-winning documentaries, including an Emmy dealing with racism.  We’ll talk about these award-winning films from director Loki Mulholland.

Loki:  “An Ordinary Hero,” which is about my mom, and the student movement. Then, there’s “The Uncomfortable Truth,” which is about the history of institutional racism in America, how we got to where we are. That’s actually a genealogy journey, as well, very fascinating. I get messages from people asking me about–all sorts of questions about that film still.

GT:  Well, and your family had owned slaves, right?

Loki:  We owned people. Yeah. We actually helped start the whole thing, quite frankly. We arrived in Jamestown in 1610. We started–we were one of the original planner elites. We served in the House of Burgesses. We were there. We also were one of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence. So, we’re real Americans.

Loki:  I say that a little cheekily, sacrilegiously, but the fact of the matter is, I get people who tried to argue that I’m not a real American, blah, blah, blah. I’m like, “Hey, wait, hold on. Hold on one second, now. We fought in every war. Right? We did all of it, we did everything. We were there for all of it, the good and the bad.

Loki:  “Black, White, & Us”  is about racism through the lens of transracial adoptions in Utah. So, these were white families who believe that racism doesn’t exist anymore, and then they adopt these black children. It’s like this eye-opening experience for them. Because now suddenly, their neighbors, their own family members, everyone else is coming out of the woodworks saying all sorts of stuff to them. But, they actually have to confront racism, because these are their children.  They can no longer sit there and go, “Yeah, but maybe that’s not what the police meant when they pulled you over, and maybe this and maybe that.  Maybe that’s not what your teacher said.”  And it’s like, “No, I mean, this is actually for real.” It’s a fascinating exploration.

Loki:  Another film is “After Selma,” which is about voter suppression since the 1965 Civil Rights Act. So, Selma, Alabama, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, that has iconic images.  People are like, “Oh, well, everyone can vote.  All as well.” Well, no, not all is well. There’s still a lot going on. So, that’s that film. Then, obviously, the “End of Slavery,” and “The Evers.”  This is about the family of Medgar Evers, and his assassination. He was shot in the back by Byron de la Beckwith while standing in his driveway. We interview his wife and his kids and so forth.  We have to understand that these historical places, actually, these people are still alive in a lot of cases when it comes to civil rights movement. These are real stories, these are real people, real lives, real impact. So, when you go and see their house where he was killed, it’s not just merely, “This is an historical place.” It’s like, “No people lived here. They laughed. They loved. They cried.  It’s making history real.

Have you watched any of these films?  Check out our conversation….

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Loki.

529: Son of a Civil Rights Icon

528: End of Slavery (in Utah???)

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End of Slavery (in Utah???) Part 1 of 5

Did you know slavery was still legal in Utah until 2020?  We’ll talk about the drive to remove this provision in the Utah Constitution with an Emmy-award winning director, Loki Mulholland who directed the film “The End of Slavery.”

Loki:  My latest project is called “The End of Slavery: the Fight for Amendment C.” It’s about the fight to actually take the language of slavery out of the Utah State Constitution.  When the Utah State Constitution was written, they actually wrote in the language of the 13th Amendment, which was that slavery is abolished, except as a punishment for crime for those who’ve been duly convicted. What that means is that you can be re-enslaved again, not you and I, but African Americans, because that’s what it was written for. So, that was created as a nod to the South to re-enslave people, to put them into penal farms, and then do convict-leasing. So, what they would do is, if you were African American, you could be arrested for something like loitering. Loitering meant that you didn’t have a job and you were just kind of hanging around. Well, the problem was, is that white people weren’t going to hire black people. So, you couldn’t get a job. So, now you get arrested, you’re put into a penal farm.  You’re leased back out to the mines, to the railroads, to the farms, to the plantations, and worked like a slave all over again.  This is all for the black folks.

GT:  It’s not just picking up trash on the side of the road.

Loki:  No, it’s not just picking up trash on the streets, not things like you think about today. But, that was really the start of kind of the jailing institutions that we have today.  It was just another way, not only to re-enslave people, but also to take away the right to vote. Voting is power and African-Americans, at that point, had the right to vote, but we need to take that away from them. So, that became, also, part of that whole system. What was interesting was, Utah was founded 30 years after slavery ended. The Civil War was done and everything. Yet, for some reason, they wrote that in there. So, Sandra Holland, she is the first black female elected official in the State of Utah. Right now, she’s the only black elected official in the state of Utah.

GT:  We’ve got Burgess Owens, technically.

Loki:  But, he’s not a state official.

GT:  Okay. He’s a federal official.

Loki:  He’s a federal official. Okay, so. This was brought to her by a reporter who said, “Hey, did you know this was still in here?” Colorado had already passed this. Utah is not the only state that had this in their state constitution, but they took it out in Colorado. So, they’re like, “Wow, we need to do this here in Utah.” So, a couple of years back, I think I want to say it was 2019 or so, 2018, 2019, the bill was passed in the House, which is where she is, and then it went to the Senate the next year. Then, it was on the ballot for the State of Utah to vote whether to take it out or not. The interesting thing I thought when I was making the film, was that in the State Capitol, I wanted to get a shot of Sandra, standing in front of the Constitution, we’d rack focus from her to the Constitution, like chiseled on the wall. I don’t know why I thought would be chiseled on the wall or something. But, there was no copy of the Constitution anywhere in the Capitol Building. I’m like, “Well, no wonder why no one knew that was there.”

Oregon is the next state to try to take slavery out of their constitution (and there are other states with this issue too.)  Were you aware of slavery was technically legal? Check out our conversation….

Slavery was technically legal in Utah until Utah voters amended the state constution to outlaw the practice. Loki Mulholland tells more in his new film “The End of Slavery.”

Don’t miss our other conversations on Black Mormon History.