Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 25
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
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Minority Education Committee Previews “The Color of Fear”

Ellen Gilbert

The Minority Education Committee watched and discussed a documentary movie about race relations at its Monday evening meeting, giving it a two-thumbs up, and recommending that it should not only be used in the Princeton Regional Schools, but should be required viewing for municipal officers and members of the Chamber of Commerce as well.

The movie, The Color of Fear, made in 1994, features eight North American men of Asian, European, Latino, and African descent speaking candidly about racism. In a series of dramatic confrontations, some discuss the pain that racism has caused them, while others reflect on the sources of their prejudices. They all ultimately emerge with a deeper sense of understanding and trust.

With a running time of 90 minutes, the film was directed by Lee Mun Wah, the founder of StirFry Seminars, a company that produces films and leads seminars about diversity. Since its release, The Color of Fear has been used by participants in educational, government, corporate, and social service agency-run seminars, and is believed to have been watched by over 30 million viewers.

The Minority Education Committee advises the Princeton Regional Schools. Board of Education member Timothy Quinn is the current liaison between the committee and the school board.

Discussion in the Valley Road Building meeting room Monday night after what was agreed to be “a great film” focused on its potential use, as well as instances that reflect the continued need for greater racial sensitivity in the community. School board member Walter Bliss emphasized his belief that “it’s the anger issue that is so tough to deal with politically. It’s a Catch-22; you can’t fully understand the need for change without understanding the anger.” Referring to municipal groups who want to move beyond racism “by pretending it just doesn’t exist,” he added that, as a lawyer, he still sees “house closings in Princeton with restrictive covenants.”

Former Mayor Jim Floyd said that he has asked Reverend Bob Moore, head of the Coalition for Peace Action, why he doesn’t add the word “justice” to the group’s name, saying that “if you can’t add justice, what is it all about?”

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