On October 26th the DEIA committee held its first Shared Conversations event via Zoom. The topic of the discussion was “Defining Social Justice & Equity.” A short animated video by Alex Cequea, entitled”Systemic Racism Explained”was shown at the beginning of the zoom session and was followed by a discussion of the video. Alex, the author, producer, and animator of the video uses two animated characters Kevin (a white boy) and Jamal (a black boy) to help get his message across. Jamal lives in a poor neighborhood and all of his neighbors are African American. Kevin lives in a wealthy neighborhood and all of his neighbors are white. The video goes on to explain why Kevin and Jamal’s school districts are funded differently and offer vastly different educational experiences. The video describes what life was like for Kevin and Jamal’s grandparents. The video offers a definition of “red-lining”, the government agency practice of marking neighborhoods in a city that were desirable or undesirable for investment. The narrator explains how black people were not able to build wealth or attend college as readily as white people. Another big part of systemic racism is implicit bias. Implicit bias are prejudices in society that people are not aware they have. One of the challenges of systemic racism is that there is no single person or entity responsible for it, so it is very difficult to solve. The video offers solutions to the viewer of what they can do, such as becoming more aware of their implicit biases and acknowledging that the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws are still affecting access to opportunity today. The viewers are asked to support systemic changes that create more equal opportunities for everybody such as increasing public school funding and making it independent from property taxes to help level the field. Alex, leaves us with a positive message saying that “Luckily, we are all part of the system which means we all have a role to play in making it better”.
After the video members shared their answers to the following questions:
What stood out or surprised you of the video?
What challenged you?
What was your takeaway?
What will you do with what you have learned today?