Reflections on Race

staged studio image of two men boxing circa 1860-65A filmmaker explores his race and family history to find that perceptions and identities are often quite fluid.

A man who was white arrived in the racially charged atmosphere of 1974 America and became black. This series of events is striking and invites myriad questions about the construction of racial identity, all of which are explored in Reflections on Race. Derek Burrows, the man in our scenario, is a filmmaker who grew up in the Bahamas and as a young man moved to Boston. His exploration of his immigrant experience puts family members, geneticists, and other experts on the same screen to unearth the definition of race and why it matters. It is an intriguing journey, full of exploration, self-realization, and family. Mass Humanities supported the development of the film’s script and its trailer, which you can watch below.

Reflections on Race is one aspect of the Mirror of Race project, which also includes a web-based project that uses 19th century photography to challenge viewers’ attitudes about race. Original daguerreotypes and other photography are presented without context and viewers are asked to reflect on the depictions. Later, they can explore scholarly essays and video hosted on the site. The project has been widely celebrated with laudatory mentions in the New York Times, the Guardian, and elsewhere.

The Mirror of Race Project, Inc. in Auburndale was awarded a $10,000 Media Project Grant to develop a script and trailer for a documentary film about the meaning of race in America. [Project Director: Gregory Fried; Date Awarded: 6/21/2013]

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