And though I understand the desire to make this material as objective as possible (as a way to pre-empt one's critics), the filmmakers' tactic of focusing the entire film on fact-based statements from a mostly academic p.o.v. left me wishing for more personal stories. A few folks were given the space to do so, and they were the most compelling parts of the film for me. Karlos Finley's moving articulation of what it feels like to be told he's, "not like other blacks" and April Dupree Taylor's account of being excluded from her co-workers' white/racist Carnival events were powerful testimonies. Additionally, the poetry woven throughout the film was beautifully potent - Bama, Audre Lorde, Robert Gray - all spoke passionately and compellingly on racism and our collective responsibility in dismantling it. If the directors had followed Tim Wise's theory that, "systemic injustice only makes an impact when we connect it to human stories", "MIBAW" would have resonated with me more deeply. Despite this aesthetic/conceptual issue, this film can serve a great purpose by opening dialogs in many arenas: within academic contexts, for parents wanting an accessible tool to educate teens, and for anyone needing an ABC's refresher course on the institutionalized racism that so many are suffering from - and fighting against - today.
MOBILE IN BLACK AND WHITE, Spectral Grey Production (2014, 92 minutes)