Forming friendships to tackle the “Racial Taboo”

A documentary about race is heading to a theatre near you, and the goal is to get people talking about the taboo. It’s a sensitive topic, but race relations have been dominating headlines. Conflict, confusion and fear are all part of the conversation, but a local group wants to focus on unity.

They’re using a documentary called Racial Taboo to help white and non-white people talk openly and respectfully about differences, similarities, and social issues. They say the most important step is forming interracial friendships.

A lesson in american history along with some comedy and candid interviews come together to create the documentary that explores why it’s still hard to discuss race in mixed groups. “It’s kind of the elephant in the room that no one talks about,” said Floyd Donley. He helped put together a group in Paducah designed to start the conversation and said,  “It started with a few people from the NAACP, a few of our friends, and it has grown to a large group now that are working toward showing this film.”

Ida Heady is a NAACP member and part of the racial unity group. She said ignoring the issues in our area won’t make them go away. “We do have racial problems,” she added, “If you talk about it, you may get something accomplished. This is what we are hoping for.”

The message in the documentary is meant to eliminate fear, shame, and blame. “This is an open dialogue. This is not to point fingers at anyone,” said Heady. The group’s goal is to create a united community. Donley said,  “We want to be ahead of the game and proactive in Paducah so that people are actually talking to each other, becoming friends, and getting to know each other rather then waiting until there’s a crisis… and then meeting in a crisis mode.”

There is a one-hour discussion planned for after the film and then six weeks of group discussions after that.

The foundation of friendship helps make it easier to talk about tough topics. There’s a telling statistic that The Washington Post published showing 75 percent of white Americans don’t have any non-white people in their social networks. The same holds true for a little less than two-thirds of black Americans.

Racial Taboo is playing at Maiden Alley Cinema this weekend. Show times are at 4pm and 7pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available at the door and online,  and a $5 donation is suggested.


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