3 reasons to watch a documentary on racism

A Class Apart KLRU Screening

A Class Apart KLRU Screening

My father just turned 68. He grew up in San Antonio around the northwest part of town. When he was in school, he told me, he had to drink from a separate water fountain from whites. He couldn’t even think of dating a white girl. He was welcome on the football team, but any other “privileges” beyond that he was encouraged to just forget about.

This blows my mind, of course. It’s not like he’s 98 or 128 years old. And in San Antonio, of all places, where Hispanics make up most of the population now.

So this documentary, “A Class Apart,” really intrigues me. It’s about a landmark case in 1954 argues by a team of Hispanic lawyers in front of the Supreme Court. KLRU is holding a special screening of the documentary next Wednesday, and I hope you’ll all consider yourselves invited (I’m on the host committee.)

And just when you were hoping it was no longer relevant to talk about discrimination and race, check out the time-warp, backlash, hateful comments to the Statesman’s story that the City of Austin would be launching a Hispanic Quality of Life Initiative. (I think they must have removed some of the more hateful comments, actually.)

What good will it do to watch a documentary on racism?

1. Well, first there’s the good old-fashioned story-telling aspect. The director is a renowned filmmaker, famous and honored for a previous documentary, “Farmingville.”

2. Next there’s the fascinating history lesson. Supreme Court cases can be really dramatic, especially when it involves an underdog team of lawyers fighting for what we all know is right.

3. And then there’s the benefit of arming yourself with information so that the next time you hear someone talk about what rights “other” people have —  “other” people being immigrants and anyone who looks the slightest bit different from the person talking — you can intelligently tell them that, thanks to a landmark case in 1954, we can now officially think of racist, bigoted, and/or otherwise prejudiced people as complete assholes.  According to the Supreme Court.

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