'American Denial' Explored Race in America

Feb 25, 2015

Despite the below freezing temperatures, WKAR Community Cinema returned in February with a screening and conversation featuring American Denial, a new documentary that sheds a unique light on the unconscious political and moral world of modern Americans.

Panelists (l-r) Pero Dagbovie and Olivia Letts.
Credit Amanda Pinckney / PBS

"I Liked The Talk Back"

"I liked the talk back, it's always good to have dialogue about controversial issues," said Okemos resident Valerie Smith. [That's] the only way we are really going to be able to make a change, [by talking] to each other, [hearing] each others perspectives, and [balancing] that with our reality."

Highlighting social research from the 1940s, the film weaves a narrative exposing some of the potential underlying causes continuing to affect implicit racial biases inherent in America's institutions today.

(l-r) Lansing resident Rosita Kintz and Okemos resident Valerie Smith
Credit Amanda Pinckney / WKAR

"Very Thought Provoking"

Lansing resident Rosita Kintz echoed her friend Smith in stating that the WKAR event was "…very thought provoking."

"It produces a dialogue," said Kintz. "Where people open up and talk and hopefully things will change."

After the excerpt from the film, the conversation addressed the issues as they play out in Michigan, with panelists Pero Dagbovie, professor of history specializing in African American and African studies at Michigan State University; and Olivia Letts, education leader and Lansing's first African American schoolteacher and principal.

"I Thought It Was Great"

First time attendee Keith Rodgers of the Lansing area thought the evening was great as well as very informative.

(l-r) Lansing resident Keith Rodgers and his friend WKAR member of Mason Rex Hauser
Credit Amanda Pinckney / WKAR

Rodgers also said that he "…would like to see a lot of the good information [shared tonight] filtered out to the community that doesn't know."

One method WKAR is sharing that information is by making available American Denial on the WKAR Video Portal at video.wkar.org.