Mobile in Black and White
2013 / USA / 91 Minutes / Robert Gray
In many ways, Mobile, Alabama has moved beyond the racial problems that plagued most American cities throughout the twentieth century. Overt racism is no longer tolerated, and, for the most part, race relations in Mobile are not much different than in other cities, north or south. However, fundamental disparities in education, criminal justice, health care, and other systems remain, which, together, lead to inequitable outcomes along racial lines. Mobile in Black and White takes a hard look at the ways racism continues to pervade the structures and institutions of a supposedly post-racial world. Expertly blending the insights and experiences of local residences and leading experts with powerful poetic expression, Mobile in Black and White is a powerful, thought-provoking catalyst for constructive conversations on race. Nationally recognized experts such as Peggy McIntosh, john powell, Tim Wise, Michael Eric Dyson, Wayne Flynt, and Bryan Stevenson present new understandings of how race and racism function in our social structures and institutions. Dozens of local leaders, academics, clergy, and other residents provide their personal experiences and insights, confirming how those concepts play out in Mobile’s community life. Finally, the poetry of Sonia Sanchez, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, the film’s director Robert Gray, and others pulls the intellectual, emotional, and experiential into clear focus. Overall, Mobile in Black and White offers an alternative take on how race remains a fundamental issue in American life, but also that it doesn’t require assignments of guilt or blame, only understanding, commitment, and action.