A new movie denounces chronic racial discrimination and sexism in Arizona.
“Some people think racism is over just because they’re no longer lynching Black people, but it’s just become more subtle over time,” Rashaad Thomas says.
According to The AzCentral Thomas and more than 25 other Arizonans spoke to filmmakers Pita Juarez and Matty Steinkamp about how discrimination has shaped their lives for “You Racist, Sexist Bigot,” a feature-length documentary examining prejudice, racial discrimination, and intolerance.
“We wanted to make something not to tell people how to think, not to put our political views on anybody, but to raise consciousness that discrimination happens every day,” said Juarez, 30.
“Whether it’s a Black man talking about how he thinks equality will never be achieved or a Latina talking about how people tell her, ‘You’re just an anchor baby,’ you’re hearing the story straight from the mouth of the person who experienced it.”
“We started with a Black woman who talked about going to the doctor and automatically being asked if she was on (Medicaid), even though she had insurance,” said Steinkamp, 37.
“There were many cases like that where people wouldn’t come out and say, ‘I hate you,’ to the subject, but they might not give them the job,” he said. “Or they might assume a minority kid was a bad kid.”
The film also features people more blatantly targeted, such as Karyna Jaramillo.
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“She’s a Hispanic woman. She’s an immigrant. She has the language barrier. She’s trans. When you see what she encounters just walking down the street, you see that she has to be strong every moment,” Steinkamp said. “She never gets to just be Karyna. She never gets to get away from it.”
Steinkamp, too, said he hopes viewers leave questioning their own behaviors and belief systems. “They should be asking themselves, ‘Should I be saying these things, or making these jokes?’ “ he said.
Thomas stressed that members of minority groups aren’t spared such soul-searching just because they have experienced racism or bigotry themselves.
“Within marginalized communities, there’s this idea we can’t discriminate against each other, but there is colorism, transphobia, homophobia within our communities,” Thomas said.
“Having a film that focuses on those issues and shares the voices that are affected by them daily, I think, is a practical approach for awareness and change.”