It was difficult to hold back tears at a screening of "Sincerely, The Black Kids," a film about racism on college campuses, May 12.
"Sincerely, The Black Kids" is a 30-minute documentary about the racism which exists on primarily white college campuses. It focuses on students of color who are in positions of leadership. Notably, the film was produced here in Sarasota and directed by Miles Iton, a black student and former student body president at New College of Florida.
The documentary contains interviews primarily with students Jaren Stewart, Delmar Fears, Devontae Torriente and Miles Iton. From universities such as Cornell, Clemson, American University and New College, we discover that "diversity is not the same as inclusiveness." The climate on U.S. campuses for those of color, making the choice not to be moderate, is unfriendly to say the least. They're battlegrounds.
These kids, doing their very best in elected positions, are constantly being berated, disrespected and criticized by those in power. Horrid social media posts, bananas being thrown at black women and nooses on campus trees are despicable images in the film which are truly nauseating to behold. This is what these brave and brilliant warriors endure on a regular basis. And for no other reason than having a skin color that is not white.
Footage of CBS commentators Charlie Rose and Chip Rein exposing hate crimes at American University are riveting and heartbreaking. Black and white archival footage is also presented depicting violence on campuses from years past and, sadly, not much has changed.
"Sincerely, The Black Kids" was screened at New College this weekend with the participants in the film in attendance. Producer Shakira Refos moderated and the auditorium was fantastically full. There were audible moans, groans and shouts put forth on behalf of the audience that were so emotionally charged that it was difficult to hold back the tears. This is one powerful piece of filmmaking.
The impressions that these courageous, articulate and incredibly grounded Kids manage to etch into our minds are indelible. One student astutely observes, "Your university is really about what you are and what you want to make of it." Another encourages, "Be brave enough to stand alone." And Mr. Iton cites that what we have heard and witnessed is, well, "It's about white people, actually."