My name is Jonathan Henderson. I am 23 years old, and a Sociology major currently studying at California State University Dominguez Hills for my BA and eventually my MA. I am the middle son amongst two brothers, born in Long Beach California and raised in Oceanside California. If someone chose to characterize me with one sentence, I would want them to say that I am a person that is committed to the cause of racial justice and to the equity and autonomy of my people.
I have chosen to commit my life to this goal. I chose to take part in this documentary, primarily because I had something that I felt like I needed to say about the way that African Americans have and still are being treated by the educational system and society as a whole in this country. I felt that the documentary was one of the only avenues where I could express my views honestly without having them dismissed and disregarded. I was right.
I was also interested in talking about white privilege and white responsibility to white people. Looking back on the experiences that I went through during the filming, I think that one of the biggest reasons why I decided to participate in the film was for healing purposes. Keeping all of my feelings and perspectives about race and racism inside was quite literally destroying me (mentally and physically). I needed an outlet. I believe that this documentary is important for two reasons.
First, because it serves to dispel this post racial myth that Americans have come to believe. That somehow, because those of this generation were not born during legal segregation or the civil rights/Black Power movement, we have magically moved on, aren’t influenced by race, and treat all equally. The documentary shows that this belief is nothing but wishful thinking. Racial injustice is alive, well, and thriving in this country.
Second this documentary illustrates how to go about having an honest conversation around race and injustice. It shows how to create a space where people feel confident about speaking about their experiences, about white privilege and power, about the biases that they harbor and act upon on a daily basis, about their unwillingness to be responsible for their benefit, about the effect that racism has had on their friends and family, about the way this country treats them daily, etc. I sincerely believe that this film will help usher in a new era of constructive conversation, rather than shallow talk.
I have been living in San Diego CA with my new wife of a little more than one year now. I am working on my doctorate, with 1.5 more years to go (thanks again for the scholarship Mun Wah!) I work for a program called Umoja, that serves Black community college students in CA and I teache Black Studies at one of the colleges in San Diego.