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Cecile Emeke's "Strolling" series

A friend on Tumblr introduced me to this short-film series by Cecile Emeke, "Strolling," which Emeke describes as "connecting the scattered stories of the black diaspora."

These videos let you fall into conversation with complete strangers. It's not really conversation, of course; it's monologue (even in the first one embedded below, each of the people takes turns talking to you-the-viewer rather than talking to each other), but the intensity with which they address you, and the inherent interest of the things they're talking about, make you feel like it's important you're there.

All of the conversations are with people of color, and so all of them talk about the experience of *being* a person of color--but not (mainly) in the United States: elsewhere. As aliettedb and others have pointed out, racism in the United States is not the only style and pattern of racism, and it's really enlightening to hear people talk about what it's like elsewhere.

But that's not the only thing that the people talk about by any means. The young woman in France talks about how what makes fast-food jobs so exhausting is the emotional effort of being sociable and smiling all the time, and about what makes something true, and the two in Jamaica talk about Patois and the language of education there, for example. I've only watched the two below, but I love them and intend to watch the rest, a bit at a time.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 9th, 2016 01:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing. I'm going to watch tonight when I have a little more time.
Mar. 11th, 2016 12:30 am (UTC)
They're longish--like 15 minutes a piece. I watched one, and then some days later came back and watched the next, and I figure I'll keep on like that.
Mar. 9th, 2016 07:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing these.
Mar. 11th, 2016 12:30 am (UTC)
My pleasure! I really enjoyed them.
Mar. 12th, 2016 06:46 am (UTC)
I’m going to save these to watch, to actually watch. Thanks for pointing them out!
Mar. 13th, 2016 10:58 am (UTC)
My pleasure! I felt very smug yesterday, because I discovered on Twitter that the New Yorker had just featured them. I had that hipster moment of, Yeah, but I knew about them before.
Mar. 13th, 2016 07:17 am (UTC)
These are great! I particularly like how the framing of it draws you into the conversation but allows the viewer to practice listening to people's personal truths and difficult experiences without needing to interrupt or interject. Just watching and listening helps build empathy, which is a great result from an artistic project.
Mar. 13th, 2016 11:00 am (UTC)
Yes! You put it so well! It feels like the best sort of conversation, where you listen in total absorption.

Just watching and listening helps build empathy --Excellent point.
Mar. 14th, 2016 06:10 am (UTC)
Yes! I had this same thought about listening without be able to interject the personal into it helps you to patiently and fully listen to what is being shared.
Mar. 14th, 2016 07:10 am (UTC)
I heard something recently about how when we think we're listening we are often impatiently waiting for our turn to speak. That hit home; ow. I have since tried hard to lessen the degree to which I do that, and worked on becoming a better listener.
Mar. 14th, 2016 11:05 am (UTC)
I'm ashamed to say that from time to time that's definitely been me. I've also been very aware from time to time of being on the receiving end of that treatment. I feel like we're really rushed, as a society? So much would be better if we weren't so impatient. (But yeah, it's not just being patient--it's not enough just to bide your time--you [I] really have to open up your [my] ears and listen, too.)
Mar. 14th, 2016 10:59 am (UTC)
And I've had the experience in real life that if you are actually forced to listen, or make yourself listen, sometimes a person isn't saying what you expect they're going to say, or what you may first think they're going to say based on their first few words--so by letting them finish, and by hearing them out (without being busy planning your reply)--you hear something very different from what you would have otherwise.
Mar. 14th, 2016 06:08 am (UTC)
I've found the time to watch the first so far. The lady sums it up nicely with the comment they repeated twice: People don't like to question something they've believed their whole lives because that means their whole life is in question.

Can't wait to watch the Flâner episode.
Mar. 14th, 2016 11:07 am (UTC)
I was very interested in the Jamaica episode, but I really *loved* the flaneur episode--from her opening gambit, which was about how othering it was to be called "black" (English word) rather than "noir" on.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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