Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Confronting racism face-to-face
May 30, 2014 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Mo Asumang, daughter of a black Ghanaian father and a white German mother, talks to BBC News about her experiences making her new documentary, The Aryans, in which she confronts racists, both in Germany and among the Ku Klux Klan in America. (4:31)

Here is the rest of her interview with Tom Metzger (8:24)

Here is the rest of her interview with the Klan member (4:45)

Mo Asumang interviewt Jürgen Rieger of the NPD (3:40) (German), Jürgen Rieger

In a related documentary, Louis Theroux travels to California to meet the man dubbed "the most dangerous racist in America", Tom Metzger. Louis meets him, his family and his publicity manager as well as following him to skinhead rallies and on a visit to Mexico. He also encounters the Nazi-pop folk duo Prussian Blue and their mother and maternal grandfather. (1:19:07)

Former Ku Klux Klan Leader Johnny Lee Clary on how the selfless love of Reverend Wade Watts triumphed over his hate. (4:09)
posted by Blasdelb (12 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
The interview with the NPD asshole made me wince repeatedly, and the BBC News piece ended on a note that made me choke on my food. I fully plan to watch the documentary; thanks for posting this so that I'd heard about it.
posted by frimble at 12:26 PM on May 30


Fascinating. Thanks for finding and sharing Blasdelb.
posted by infini at 12:50 PM on May 30


Confronting seems like a strong word to describe what she's doing.

Engaging in dialog seems like a closer approximation. Her approach seems more fruitful than a confrontation would be.

Also, so much respect - I would not have the fortitude to engage in dialog with these people, all I could find in my own heart would be confrontation (and probably angry confrontation).

I look forward to watching her documentary.
posted by el io at 1:08 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


Semantics. She's confronting racism by engaging in dialogue, which is a strong thing to do. Knowledge is power.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 1:47 PM on May 30


Wow, looks fascinating. She is a brave and intelligent woman.
posted by zardoz at 1:53 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


+1 for "engaging in dialogue". I expecting shouting and clashing. Her approach was much softer, much better. Such a brave woman!
posted by greenhornet at 1:55 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


el io: "Confronting seems like a strong word to describe what she's doing. "
I don't know. I think in a subtle but important way, confronting is almost not a strong enough word for what she is doing, where it really is the racism being attacked rather than easier targets like pride. In attacking their hate with a genuine and understanding smile, rather than them with anger, she only hits it that much harder.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:27 PM on May 30 [5 favorites]


I think Mo Asumang is on to something.

It has been my personal experience that when - for any reason - I find myself disliking another human being, getting closer to that human being in dialogue and getting to know him/her reduces my animus. It can be heated at first, but usually settles down to result in a better understanding of the other person. This doesn't always result in "liking' the other person, but goes a long way to understanding, which in turn reduces dislike or hatred.

Another thing: when having an angry encounter with a person, or group, based on preconceived notions - after the encounter, if there has been some time to pause - offering an olive branch or opening discussion starts to create a bond. It's an odd feeling, but a good one. That said, there is also often a compelling sense of wanting to bathe on one's own self-righteous vitriol, because the self-righteous feelings that come from acting on one's dislike for a person or group can feel good, because it fells like the self is being elevated relative to the other.

Human beings are complex, but when it comes to misunderstanding difference, dialogue is always better in the long run than shutting down, or holding on to hatred/dislike. (Note: this in no way excuses behavior committed by persons who use bias or prejudice to hurt others - it's a kind of "hate the sin, love the sinner" approach. Not always successful, because nobody is perfect, but good to know.
posted by Vibrissae at 2:29 PM on May 30 [3 favorites]


Man, that Louis Theroux documentary is amazing too: Everybody needs an attorney, even guys like Pablo Escobar. *continues the tour of his hillside mansion*
posted by XMLicious at 2:56 PM on May 30


Fascinating and courageous work. Any kind of dialogue here is pretty amazing because of how much of people's identity has come to be bound up with hate and fear. Actually getting someone to change their mind, to realize they were wrong and face up to those consequences in their thinking and the rest of their lives, is a daunting task and infinitely impressive to me.
posted by ropeladder at 3:16 PM on May 30


Wow - this woman is amazing. I spent many years going to protests to yell and scream at and fight toe-to-toe with these assholes. What she is doing is so much more.

Thank you for this post.
posted by jammy at 4:15 PM on May 30 [1 favorite]


For reference, here is the song (Die Kugel ist für dich (...Mo Asumang...)) that inspired her first documentary, Roots Germania (first five minutes on Vimeo). Her second documentary was Road to Rainbow, focusing on South Africa and a search for the lost vision of the Rainbow Nation. This, Die Arier, is her third documentary.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:30 PM on June 1 [1 favorite]


« Older This morning, the Veterans Affairs Chief Eric Shin...  |  Schrödinger’s water for the pe... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments