One consequence of Ferguson: viewers can now watch the documentary “White Like Me” cost-free.
Tim Wise’s anti-racism documentary will stream free online for a few weeks. The Media Education Foundation, which produced the movie, chose the promo code “blacklivesmatter” for viewers to redeem.
Wise, 46, raised more than $41,000 on Kickstarter for the movie, which adapts his 2005 memoir, “White Like Me: Reflections On Race From A Privileged Son.” The 2013 film features insights from Princeton University’s Imani Perry; Michelle Alexander, author of 2012’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”; and Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree.
A brisk 68 minutes, “White Like Me” is a forceful, persuasion piece, designed to explain the basics of white privilege, racial bias and systematic discrimination to viewers who haven’t considered America’s legacy of white supremacy.
“Racial bias still effects the way we view others,” Wise says in the opening sequence. “And when we fail to recognize that, we not only continue to do an injustice to people of color, we end up doing damage to white folks as well.”
The film focuses almost entirely on the 20th century. A good chunk of the narrative is framed around sweeping social programs of the 1930s and 1940s—including the G.I. Bill and the creation of the Federal Housing Administration—which almost exclusively benefited white people, as Ta-Nehisi Coates demonstrated in his landmark piece in the Atlantic Monthly published earlier this year.
Such historical content is buttressed by the “post-racial” language thrown around after President Barack Obama’s first election and the rise of the often incendiary Tea Party.
Perhaps a few members will find their way to this compelling feature. Likewise, in classrooms, Wise’s frank work as the potential to open a few eyes.