The Color of Fear

Many years ago, my friend Chad told me if he could make even a very modest living fighting racism, that is what he would do with his life. The idea had never occurred to me before. In that conversation we also talked about how it was really only people who were on the fence about race that were good targets for intervention; good luck changing the mind of an entrenched racist! So where do you find these on-the-fence-folks, and how do you make a living working with them? We made no more progress on the question.

Lee Mun Wah does just what we imagined. He is a “diversity and communication trainer” and the founder of Stirfry Seminars & Consulting. The population of Whites he works with are a lot more egalitarian-minded than I had imagined necessary, back in those relatively naive days–they are Whites who consider racism appalling but don’t see their own part in perpetuating it.

I watched these clips from Lee Mun Wah’s documentary of one of his groups, called The Color of Fear. It was some of the most moving footage I’ve seen this year. If you watch it, watch both clips to the end, and be prepared for some members to express anger. (Keep in mind that (according to my teachers) both David and Victor became diversity and communication trainers after this film was made.) This is incredible work. I hope I get the opportunity to lead groups like this in my career.

[First published on Nathen’s Miraculous Escape, June 6, 2010.]

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