yes, *that* Dawn person (dawn_guy) wrote,
yes, *that* Dawn person

I don't think it means what you think it means

A filmmaker creates a short public service piece in which a Mediterranean-featured woman wearing a hijab is visibly nervous when a black man wearing run of the mill street clothes (short sleeved t shirt, chinos, trainers IIRC) is walking behind her on a sidewalk with no other pedestrians in view. He deliberately crosses the street to walk behind her early in the clip. The tag line about racism being bad comes when the man grabs and saves the woman (who at this point has changed from being clearly wary to being absorbed in using a mobile phone or small tablet) from walking into the path of an oncoming bus.

Comments about the film [in one of those social media forums] run strongly along the lines of (mostly) women saying the fear/alert response to anyone (but especially a man) walking behind them is trained into girls [hence it's not a suitable message to highlight assumptions about people based on visible racial characteristics] and others who see no sex- or gender-related overtones in the piece [so of course it's about racism, because nothing else would explain the woman's attitude]. Few on either side appear willing to engage in a learning and/or teaching dialogue.

I think it's cool that someone (presumably) paid and credited two actors who are not white men to make something that is getting an audience of non-trivial size. I have considerable difficulty accepting the filmmaker's apparently intended message of the dynamic between the characters as being motivated in more than a minor way by racial or cultural issues. I have had discussions with people (mostly straight men) who don't seem to understand that following someone fairly closely in an area where there are few others around is an intimidating claim of personal space and implied threat to the person being followed.
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