The Vancouver Asian Film Festival is the longest-running Asian film festival in Canada and this year runs from today until November 13. Blurring the Color Line, written and directed by Crystal Kwok, will screen tomorrow. The film explores the relationship between the Black and Asian communities through Crystal’s family history. Her grandmother, Pearl, moved to Augusta, Georgia in the 1920s where her family ran a grocery store in the Black neighbourhood.
W Kamau Bell is one of the producers of Blurring the Color Line and, as he writes:
"[Blurring the Color Line] achieves the remarkable feat of addressing our country's systems of white supremacy without centering white voices. Crystal takes a hard look at the uncomfortable truths of this country's racial history and encourages us to think about racism in fresh and important ways. This is all done through Crystal posing difficult questions to her family, their community, and occasionally to herself too."
"At a time in America when we are aware of how divided we are, especially racially, this film bravely explores one of our nation's most discussed, most politicized, and most misunderstood racial divides."
And the film is now more relevant than ever. This week the United States Supreme Court is hearing affirmative action cases and the “court’s conservative majority seems ready to throw out affirmative action programs”.
Affirmative action opponents have been unsuccessfully trying this for years. But this time Asian American students are being used as props. As noted in a statement released by Asian Americans Advancing Justice:
“Let’s be clear about the motivations behind these cases: [anti-affirmative action groups and their] vast network of funders are pursuing a decades-long campaign to divide communities of color and strip away educational opportunities and voting rights from Black, Latino, Indigenous, and Asian communities - and deliberately attempting to use Asian American students and families as a racial wedge for their political gain.”
The National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association took a position on the situation:
“Asian Americans did not ask to be wedged in the forefront of a court battle,” said Dillon Yang, president of NAPALSA, in reference to Students for Fair Admissions’ argument that affirmative action hurts Asian applicants.
Not only does that argument paint over the varying income and experiences under the Asian umbrella, it also feeds into the racist model minority myth used to sow division between racial groups, Yang said.
He sees Students for Fair Admissions as another way white people in power are using Asian faces to meet their own ends, he said.”
Pitting people from different marginalised communities against each other has long been a tool of white supremacy and Blurring the Color Line delves into the history of this practice.
If you have the opportunity, please check it out at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. Tickets are available here.
Yours in gossip,