By Korey Green
Lesson learned. This phrase refers to my recent experience about my decision to ask Carl Paladino to be part of a six-member panel discussion about racial issues. This was a community panel discussion that followed the screening of “The Blackness Project."
I have no regrets about my choice to invite him to join the panel. My reasoning was sincere and focused on elevating the discussion of race and racism. However, I am saddened that the Burchfield Penney Art Center has been targeted as the responsible party for inviting Mr. Paladino.
As a filmmaker with a vision to bring diverse groups together to be informed about the realities of race in America, I hope that the film opens eyes and touches hearts. I hope that it leads to the desire to create community solutions. It’s important to know that we do not seek to divide with this project, but to encourage serious conversations and deep understandings that lead to community led solutions.
“The Blackness Project” is an educational documentary about culture and race from the African-American perspective. The film originally began as a response to the “Whiteness Project,” a documentary in which 21 participants from Buffalo discussed openly race and the perceived loss of white privilege by white Americans. As we began to seek responses to the Whiteness Project, the United States appeared to explode with racially motivated killings that sparked a cultural movement by young African-Americans. It was clear with this cultural movement that this hurt must stop. We strive to encourage a discussion that addresses the “whys” that create racial hatred. So, “The Blackness Project” evolved into a historical documentary organized to cover key issues such as: Watching the Whiteness Project, What’s Your Ethnicity? Slavery, Affirmative Action, and Being Black.
The goal of “The Blackness Project” is to educate, elevate and engage Americans to bridge the racial divide in our country by creating a meaningful dialogue on race.
I believe that as a city, as a nation, we cannot be the best we can be until we confront the racial scars and the deep reasons for them in dialogue. To get to the core issues common voices are not the only ones that must be heard; we must hear from the voices that speak racial hatred. It is my hope that there are more people who will disagree about racial hatred and check those negative voices. To be fully informed before viewing “The Blackness Project” I ask that people view the documentary “The Whiteness Project” to understand the concerns and often upsetting comments that initially inspired “The Blackness Project.”
The purpose of “The Blackness Project” is to bring people together to raise awareness and to break down barriers. We cannot do this if we don’t speak with each other. All voices need to be heard.
Korey Green is the director, editor, writer and producer of the new documentary, "The Blackness Project."