“World Without Black People,” a video from Jubilee Project, hits streets around the country to ask people what the world would be like if Black people didn’t exist. What starts as a surface conversation about a universe without hip-hop and how Hollywood already reflects that alternate reality, quickly morphs into a meditation on what it’s like to be Black in America. From Black families talking about the particular difficulties of raising their children in a society that is not built for them, to White people admitting to the racist thoughts that creep in, the video provides raw insight into how Black people are viewed in by others—and how they view themselves.
In a statement about the video, director Eric I. Lu talked about his hopes for the project and how it impacted him:
Making this film has changed my life. Growing up I hung out primarily with Asians. Whenever families gathered for potlucks, they were all Asian. My best friends were Asian. Maybe I was just more comfortable within my own ethnicity. Sure I knew people from other ethnicities, but did I really know them that well? You could say my world did not really have black people. It was only when I got to medical school, 23 years into my life, that I became close friends with African Americans and other ethnicities. But even still, I had not really sought to understand what it was like to be a black person living in this society. Through making this film, I reflected and confronted my own racist thoughts.
One of the people I saw on the streets was a guy in a hoodie who just walked out of a McDonalds. I hesitated for a second, and later in talking with my friend I realized it was because subconsciously I had stereotyped him as a thug. But as you can tell from his answers, he turned out to be a very socially conscious guy who after the interview invited me to a community organizing gathering.
I believe we become better people—more understanding and less judgmental—when we get to know somebody different from us. That’s why we want to encourage you to do the same.
Watch the full video above.
(H/t The Huffington Post)