So what's in store?
I'm talking about race war!
"Get yourself together"
"Open your eyes, get wise"
Race war....race war....
....people getting killed in the streets
blood on your feet
the ends don't meet,
and who're they going to blame it on, me?

Try the media, try the PD, try your TV,
anybody but yourself.
But once the bullets starts flying
people starts dying
its all because of lying
history books they teach hate
I did have no escape from the racist faith
it's like South Africa, we'll start killing...
race war, race war, race war, race war, race war......


Where did all the anger come from?

Where did we go wrong?



A Lesson On Oppression

30 years of black-white oppression as experienced and photographed by me, Jacob Holdt - originally from Denmark, but now also American - with insights and inspiration for liberation fighters world wide.
Part One can be useful in countries where virtual apartheid has been established such as USA, South Africa and Israel, Part Two has extremely important lessons for Europeans if we want to avoid a similar ghetto tragedy

Part One "History as seen in the present"
The basic and historical patterns of oppression

Part Two "The ghetto in our minds"
How we "seemingly" nice white oppressors in America and Europe force millions of American blacks and European immigrants into ghettos

Optional Part Three "On becoming committed anti-racist racists"
Your follow-up work in workshops and everyday life in order to become effective allies of our victims



This is a presentation about oppression and the damage it does to us. Most important is the adult oppression of children. Everywhere in the world children are hurt very early by the irrational behavior of adults. This causes severe patterns of distress resulting in hurtful behavior.

Later in life we re-enact these distress patterns on our own children or on each other e.g. in sexist, racist, nationalist, totalitarian, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, homophobic, age, handicap or class oppression.



In most of us these patterns have become so chronic that we become defensive when challenged and end up blaming the victims. We dare not face the fact that in such systems we are both victims and oppressors.

There are few places in the world where the main ingredients of oppression are as blatant as in the relationship between blacks and whites in the USA. From this tragedy we can all learn something about ourselves.



Watching this presentation, it is important to understand the damage we go through in a segregated society.
Black or white, we are born naturally open and curious with no inborn racial biases. Then things go wrong. We hear things like "Niggers are dirty, stupid and lazy. They belong on the bottom."
For the loving and affectionate child this is irrational, confusing and hurtful. While we are hurting our mind no longer thinks rationally and a rigid scar is created on our thinking. After years of such hurtful messages we end up accepting and internalizing these limited definitions of ourselves and our society.



As seen through the eyes of a foreigner this presentation is about how such racial attitudes cripple our character, whatever our color. Though there is plenty of racism in Europe, I was fortunate to have my childhood in Denmark during years when I was not severely hurt by social insecurity and racist conditioning. I was also fortunate that the first people I stayed with in America were not white. Most European visitors stay first with white Americans, who warn them, "Don't walk three blocks this way or two blocks that way," and immediately frighten them into accepting white fear and rigid segregation.



My experience was just the opposite. The first American home to take me in was a black home on the south side of Chicago. With all their love, warmth and openness, I immediately felt at home and saw whites only as cold distant faces on TV or in hostile suburbia.
Later, traveling into the white world, I was no longer as vulnerable to its racist patterns of guilt and fear. I hitchhiked 118,000 miles and stayed in over 400 homes in 48 states. I had arrived with only $40. Twice a week I sold my blood plasma to earn the money I needed for film.



Traveling in such a deeply divided society inevitably was a violent experience:

4 times I was attacked by robbers with pistols,
2 times I managed to avoid cuts from men with knives,
2 times frightened police drew guns on me,
1 time I was surrounded by 10-15 blacks in a dark alley and almost killed.



1 time I was ambushed by the Ku Klux Klan,
several times I had bullets flying around me in shootouts,
2 times I was arrested by the FBI, and 4 times by the Secret Service.
I lived with 3 murderers and countless criminals.....
...but I have never met a bad American!



That I survived I owe to my stubborn belief in these words by Jose Marti:

You must have faith in the best in people and distrust the worst.
If not, the worst will prevail.

I hope you will share my love for America while you go through the presentation.... ....and afterward work together - black and white (or European native and immigrant) - to undo the hurt we do to each other and thus heal the division and violence we inflict on our society.
To begin our painful journey toward that goal, let us take a boat trip together....