By Fatima Perez
For this Black history month, Yolo County Library and the Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency, will collaborate with the Culture Co-Operative (COOP) to host a four-week community dialog to understand the “root” causes of systemic racial inequalities by showing the award winning film, The Cost of Darkness, a documentary that recognizes the racial disparities in the United States through institutions such as education, healthcare, and politics.
This four-week event is intended to create a positive, judgment-free space to learn about racial oppression and its impact on people of color.
Sandy Holman, founder of COOP, began the viewing event by defining race as, “a false classification of people that is not based on any real or accurate biological or scientific truth.”
Holan further stated that race continues to be defined as “a political construct” and that “the concept of race was created as a classification of human beings with the purpose of giving power to white people and to legitimize the dominance of white people over non-white people.”
For the first week of this series, a portion of the film was shown discussing the Black experience and education.
The Black experience segment of the movie discussed transgenerational trauma – trauma passed down through generations.
The educational segment provided history and background as to the “broken” educational system in the United States. Topics including modern segregation – unequal school funding and segregated neighborhoods – and institutional racism were highlighted.
Institutional racism was presented with “The Doll Test” where children were asked to point to a doll depending on the question. The dolls were identical in almost every aspect, except one was white and one was brown. The results of the study revealed that a majority of children preferred the whitle doll and assigned positive characteristics to it, regardless of the child’s race. This experiment demonstrated the impact of generational trauma that produced a feeling of “inferiority among African-American children.”
Additionally, the movie discussed the lack of diversity of teachers in schools. Sandy Holman along with the film demonstrated that diversity in the classroom is important because the more you look like your teacher, the better you can perform.
The movies highlighted the General Education Board (GEB) created by John D. Rockerfeller to improve the educational system in the United States, “without distinction of race, sex, or creed.” However, the film stated that the implementation of Jim Crow laws led the GEB to create separate schools for white students and students of color.
The next Cost of Darkness viewing will be on Wednesday, February 9, from 6:00-8:30 p.m. about “The Media, Economics & Politics.”