Monday, February 22, 2016

CIES to Attend Calgary's Anti-Racism Film Festival

Many of us will live out our entire lives without ever truly experiencing being unlike all those with which we surround ourselves. It’s hard for many to understand what it’s like to walk into a room and have everyone take notice of our presence simply for being the only one. To fathom the self-image born from being a member of what society calls a minority can be very complicated for those standing amidst the towering forest of the status quo. Perhaps most importantly, it’s difficult to comprehend the enveloping sense of judgement and conversely, the tremendous feeling of solidarity amongst the membership of a societal out-group.

In response to this, the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation is pleased to invite all Calgarians to attend the first ever 48-hour-Anti-Racism Film Festival. The red carpet event will take place on Monday, March 21, 2016, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, most often called End Racism Day. The gala begins at 6pm and will showcase the completed films in downtown Calgary at the John Dutton Theatre.  The competition has not been restricted to professionals and encouraged anyone with a passion to participate. Whether a cell phone camera or a professional DSLR, editing software in an app or a professional dashboard, all ideas were welcomed. The top submissions will be shown on March 21st, all will be 2-5 minutes in length, and related to the subject of racial discrimination

The concepts of race and the marginalization it can bring appears to have doubled down when we look to the south these days. Here in Canada, the refugee crisis has revealed some of the same, That being said, this is, unfortunately, par for the course for humanity as throughout human history race has been humanity's most defining characteristic. By extension, race has consistently produced powerful forms of judgement and continues to do so today. Although the concept of race scientifically does not exist and is purely a social phenomenon, the social reality of race permeates every part of human life. More than anything, visible immediacy perpetuates its superiority as a master status and the lines of racial division are systemically ingrained within our thought patterns from the moment we join the empirical rabble of humankind.

Whether it’s been random or evolutionary adjustments to the environment, the fact is that the physical disparity amongst us is due to genetic mutation. In the days before global or even continental travel, isolated gene pools created common ancestries with similar traits, and even communal diseases, but never has there been a sub-species to the human race. Nevertheless, race is unquestionably a very significant part of our lives and is repeatedly used to explain such cultural nuances as skin colour, ethnicity, values, traditions, or ancestry.

Pre-conceived notions and socially conditioned images of race are downloaded onto the human psyche via television, music, film, and the ever-manipulative mass media. By the time children reach their tenth birthdays, the socially constructed images of Black, White, Indian, Asian, or Arabic have been fully installed and are an integral part of the massive hard drive that is our subconscious mind. With the music and film industries working as system engineers for the youth of every generation passed, one can begin to see the fateful stereotypes that shape the minds of today’s youth in preparation for adulthood within the walls of the Western World and beyond. Whether it’s the White angry banger bands or the even whiter super-hero, the Black pimp daddy hip-hop bands or the blacker still foul mouthed criminal, ideas of what it means to be Black or White are ingested constantly. Further still, whether it’s the cerebral Asian computer geek, the scheming Arab terrorist, or the money loving Jew, a pre-determined and entirely misleading range of archetypal racial images rain down upon us from all sides and its time to call such social conditioning our for what it is - racism.

This spring be sure to recognize End Racism Day March 21st, talk about it, get it out there and be sure to book your tickets to Calgary's first ever Anti-Racism Film Festival.

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