"I am so angry...so
hurt! I feel betrayed by my country. So much anger welled up inside of
me and so much hurt overflowed, I had to cry. All I could see were those
pictures... those faces... the pain. I still see them everyday. And nothing
can get rid of them. What can I do to stop the pain -- in them and in
"For the first
time ever, I personally was presented with a realistic view of lower class
America, the seemingly endless struggle that they are up against. Why
is it that up until now the presentation of the struggle of America's
lower class to society was virtually nonexistent?"
"I have never
considered myself a racist. In fact, some of my closest friends are black.
....Your presentation opened my eyes. I now have a better understanding
for what blacks have gone through and continue to go through. I was indeed
"One of the
young students asked you a question "What can I do to make this better?"
I sensed that her heart was frozen in isolation and fear. You have the
answer but your program doesn't."
was still a vestige of racism in me. I realized that at night and I'm
walking near some black youth, I tense up as if they're going to flounce
on me. Though I tell myself that they won't do it, it is still a form
of racism to automatically suspect them.
"I felt emotionally
drained and I was made much more aware of my feelings towards blacks and
saw a new side of them. That was one of the things Holdt was trying to
accomplish -- to get his viewers to face their attitudes of racism. I
always liked to think I had no major prejudices; I have black friends
and as a Catholic I shouldn't have any, but we all do and Holdt made me
realize that I am no exception."
and truthful documentary should be shown so often and so widely until
American Pictures becomes as well known as "Romeo and Juliet."
"I was raised
in an affluent community, but for me it hasn't been the fear to enter
the poor's homes and thoughts; it is the revolt against those I perceive
as the cause of oppression that tears me apart. In my heart I begrudged
the rich because I never saw them entering the ghetto to help, as I did.
"I am ashamed
because fear for my own well-being overrides my desire for change, and
ashamed as well for the fact that it is attitudes like mine that keep
the oppressed, oppressed."
"We are a society
of dreamers and it is because of this that your program brings us to tears.
It gives me great hope to see that you've exposed the monster of our fears
and retained your faith in mankind. Despite your terrible experiences,
please continue your faith in the American people."
all blacks as inferior. This was the most influential factor in shaping
my prejudices..... I know that the first thing that must be done is for
me to change my way of thinking..... Thanks to your slide show I know
that I must get to know the person before I determine what they are like."
"I walked out
of your show feeling free ...more free than I have in a long time. I felt
free of the fear I have of "different" people. I never really
thought of myself as a prejudiced or racist person. I realize now that
by avoiding and separating myself from these "other" groups
I put up a wall of fear between myself and the rest of the world. I now
feel that I can go out and do the things I've dreamed of because I will
concentrate on the similarities between humans ...not the differences."
"In total, with
an intermission, four hours took this journey. Started out with lightheartedness,
though grew my mind heavily overcast, my body paralyzed After, with painfully
miserable realities, my eyes bathed dried out and shrunk, was how my mind
I saw that first Spring night It's not entertainment he said and he was
right These are the pictures in my mind And I see that I've been blind."
"I felt a variety
of emotions when I watched your show..... I believe that people who are
willing to work would make this system successful. I know that many people
just don't want to work, and I don't think that society should contribute
money to their aid.......
people, including myself, know the oppression that is present in society
we tend to become separated from it. Sometimes we hide our knowledge of
it altogether - maybe because we can't handle being oppressed ourselves.
Not acknowledging these feelings of helplessness is what is alienating
us from the rest of the country."
"As I watched
your pictures I felt tears well down my face, anger in my blood, pain
in my soul, then hope in my heart and motivation in my mind. I will keep
those pictures of my fellow Americans in my mind every day and dedicate
my life to them, so someday they will have the same opportunities that
slides I could see how the "victims of prejudice in America"
live, and how helpless they were. Everyday, the public passes by these
bowels and glance out from the corner of their eye but keep on driving
to their destination without a second thought. I believe the people who
keep driving and ignore the problem known as prejudice, are actually the
root of the problem because of their ignorance."
has helped us to distinguish between fear which can serve to protect us,
and that irrational and reactive fear which is instilled in us by institutions
trying to protect themselves. If we can continue to recognize fear-motivated
actions, we can re-evaluate them and change them."
- andre emner herunder:
Copyright © 1997 AMERICAN PICTURES;