Saturday, December 13, 2008

AIFF - Yellow Sticky Notes Maker Jeff Chiba Stearns

I got to talk to Jeff last night at the museum, just before his video Yellow Sticky Notes was played at the Museum. But we spoke about a previous film - What Are You Anyway? - which is about his growing up half-white (and half-Japanese) in Kelowna, British Columbia. Since I'm on the steering committee of Healing Racism in Anchorage, I found the video a great tool for using in workshops looking at racism. Though I had a question about a part near the end where Jeff says his new girlfriend's behavior showed him that if he was proud of his heritage, the disturbing words and questions wouldn't bother him. I agree that is a good strategy if you are subject to prejudice, but in a training session with people of the dominant ethnicity, you need to discuss that this doesn't mean that the victim should be blamed. This perception on Jeff's part is good in unintended insults based on ignorance, but doesn't address the structural basis for discrimination built into society that causes people to have negative or just inaccurate preconceptions about people of different ethnicities.

You can see "What Are You Anyway" at the link. Trust me, it is well worth it - funny and informative.

Jeff explained that he made the movie as an expression of his own experiences and was suddenly called on to talk about the issues of people of mixed heritage by schools and universities, and that he's learned a lot about the subject. Anyway that's the context for the bit of video I got of our discussion.

Jeff will give the filmmaker workshop

TODAY (Saturday, Dec. 13) at OUT NORTH at 3pm

Here's a link to another YouTube of Jeff talking about making Yellow Sticky Notes.

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