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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???)