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US Student Filmmakers Fight Racial Stereotypes

作者:Caty Weaver 发布日期:7-31-2015

Over the last few months, students at an American high school produced a film that explores a serious problem: racial stereotypes.
Over the last few months, students at an American high school produced a film that explores a serious problem: racial stereotypes.

Over the last few months, a group of American high school students produced a film that explores racial stereotypes. The students wanted to show how problems can result from having ideas about a person based only on his or her race. They also wanted the film to provide possible solutions.

Racial stereotypes are painful

The students all attend Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Maryland. It is known locally as BCC. The film is called "I, Too, Am BCC." It looks at the school's African-American and Hispanic students. They share their thoughts and experiences throughout the documentary. They talk about comments they heard that represent racial stereotypes -- like that blacks are not as smart as whites.

Some students say they feel that they have had to take extra steps to prove their intelligence. Others say that being the only black or Hispanic student in a competitive, high-level class makes them feel as if they do not belong. They say other students are surprised to learn when a minority student has a strong, academic record.

Abigail Braithwaite is one of the three producers of "I, Too, Am BCC." She said the students filmed for the documentary really tell the story. She said she found that they often shared the same experiences in different situations.

"In the video, a student, Yannik Alexis, tells a story about how his friend, who was like, 'Oh, you don't look like you get straight As!'

Abigail Braithwaite said she also had a friend express surprise that Braithwaite was taking honors classes. Abigail said she felt sure that that perception was based on the fact that she is African-American.

Filmmaker Makdes Hailu said the documentary helps students who make such comments understand how much pain and damage they cause.

'It's nothing like, you know, 'I hate you because you're black.' It's none of that. It's really small, micro-aggressions that you hear. It's not necessarily like the person being racist, but the person is buying into all these ill-perceptions that the media portrays."

Talking about it

The student filmmakers visited about 50 classes where they showed the documentary. Afterward, they would hold discussions about race.

"Watching the video is nice, but it's not really put to effect unless you have discussions afterwards."

Makdes Hailu says the message they tried to express was that stereotypes are wrong.

Sharif Robinson is an assistant principal at BCC. He says producing films on racial stereotypes is part of the school's Minority Scholars Program.

"Our goal for the Minority Scholars Program is to empower students to identify issues at their school, but not just identify the issues, but come up with resolutions."

Mr. Robinson said the makers of "I, Too, Am BCC" did exactly that.

Looking for solutions

Another of the student filmmakers, Orlando Pinder, said one of the solutions is to meet people who are different from you.

"What we say is just try to meet someone of another race. Try to meet someone who is different than you. If you live in a very segregated area, and you only know black people or you only know white people, you're not going to get a sense of the other side."

The young filmmakers are now working on their next project. They are interviewing students from other high schools in the area and creating a second film on racial stereotypes.

I'm Caty Weaver.

VOA's Faiza Elmasry reported on this story from Washington. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

stereotype - n. a belief that many people have about all people or things with a similar characteristic or quality

perception - n. the way you think about or understand someone or something

portray - v. to describe (someone or something) in a given way

segregate - v. to separate groups of people because of their race or religion

interview - v. to question or talk with someone in order to get information

过去几个月来,美国首都华盛顿附近的马里兰州贝塞斯达-切维蔡斯高中(BCC)的高年级学生一直忙着探索视频和叙事在应对一个严肃问题时的威力。这个问题就是:有关种族的刻板形象。同学们不仅仅是把这个问题及其引发的负面感觉暴露出来,还试图提出解决办法。

在学生们拍摄的影片中,一位女生说:"我只是觉得,每个人都好像看着我,觉得我这个黑人女孩之所以被选进队伍,就是因为我是黑人,不是因为我的能力。"

这个项目让高中生们讲出自己的想法和经历。

影片叫做《我也是BCC人》(I,Too, am BCC),聚焦学校的非洲裔美国人和拉美裔学生。他们诉说亲耳听到的一些反映了种族刻板形象的评论,比如黑人不如白人聪明。

阿比盖尔·布雷斯韦特是学生制片人。她说: "在视频里,有个叫延尼克·亚列克西的同学讲了一件有关他的朋友的事情。那个朋友说,'哇,你看上去不像全A学生啊!'"

这位男生说:"当时我只是一笑。后来我又回味了这段交谈,一直在琢磨。然后就触动我了。"

这类评论让一些学生感到悲哀和困惑。

一名女生在影片中说:"我长大的时候一直觉得我必须要看起来像个白人男性,穿得像白人男性,说话也像白人男性,这样人家就会觉得我跟其他白人孩子是一个水平线的。到了现在我都不知道自己是谁了。"

学生制片人马克迪斯·黑卢说,这部影片把问题人性化了,让发表过那些评论的同学认识到,这些话可能多么的伤人。

他说:"不是那种'因为你是黑人所以我恨你'这类话,根本不是。都是些你听到的细微的评论,讲话人并不一定是种族主义者,但却接受了媒体描绘的所有那些形象。"

"看视频确实不错,可你必须事后讨论,才能真正见效。"他说。

一名男生在影片中有这样的话:"我觉得有时我过着双重生活。"

制作有关种族刻板形象的影片是BCC高中"少数族裔学者"项目的一部分。

教师谢里夫·罗宾逊说:"我们'少数族裔学者项目'的目标是赋予学生力量,让他们发现本校的问题。不仅是发现问题,而且拿出解决办法。"

学生制片人奥兰多·平德说:"我们要说的是,跟另一个种族的人会会面。试图跟一个和你不一样的人会面,因为,如果你生活在一个非常隔离的区域,如果你只是跟黑人或者只是跟白人在一起,你就无法理解另一方。"

这些年轻的制片人如今开始了第二个项目,采访本区其它高中的学生,探讨种族刻板形象问题。

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