Not Quite White: New Documentary Boldly Examines Whiteness
CHICAGO, March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Contested Whiteness (24 min., 8 sec.), explores the complicated relationship of Arab and Slavic immigrants to American notions of whiteness. The film is dedicated to a vision of whiteness that is anti-racist and rooted in economic justice. Our hope is that Not Quite White contributes to society’s on-going conversations about whiteness and efforts at redefining whiteness.
The documentary, directed by Jamil Khoury and Stephen Combs, expands the American conversation on race by zeroing in on whiteness as a constructed social and political category, a “slippery slope” that historically “played favorites,” advantaging Northern and Western European immigrants over immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and the Middle East. Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury draws upon his own Arab and Slavic heritage as the lens through which to investigate the broader issue of immigrants “achieving” whiteness and hence “qualifying” as “fully American.” Integrating theatrical scenes alongside interviews with Arab American and Polish American academics, Not Quite White examines “contested” and “probationary” categories of whiteness and the use of anti-Black racism as a “whitening” dye.
Not Quite White is Silk Road Rising’s first-ever online documentary, and can be viewed at www.silkroadrising.org/video-plays/not-quite-white
Director Jamil Khoury says, “Stephen Combs and I have created a documentary film that we are extraordinarily proud of. Blending documentary with personal memoirs, theatre with the academy, art with activism, Not Quite White represents, in many aspects, a bridge between the former Silk Road Theatre Project and today’s Silk Road Rising. It is, God willing, the first of many such documentary projects, and is a testimony to the sort of genre-crossing, multi-disciplinary storytelling that defines this new chapter in the Silk Road saga.
The academics featured in Not Quite White include: Roxane Assaf, Adjunct Faculty, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Ann Hetzel Gunkel, Director of Cultural Studies, Columbia College Chicago; John Tofik Karam, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies, De Paul University; and Dominic A. Pacyga, Professor of History, Columbia College Chicago.
Silk Road Rising was founded by life partners Jamil Khoury and Malik Gillani in 2002 under the name Silk Road Theatre Project, as a proactive response to anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments following the attacks of 9/11. Silk Road Rising is a Chicago based nonprofit polycultural arts organization that creates theatre, both live and online, that tells stories through the eyes of Middle Eastern and Asian playwrights. To learn more about Silk Road Rising please visit www.silkroadrising.org
SOURCE Silk Road Rising