Two Videos on Racism in American Society
- Moral Decisions Video Series
Wednesday, June 23
Bobet Hall 212
Our videos tonight deal with racism. The first has become something of a
classic brief study of discrimination in contemporary America. The second
explores the notorious drug arrests in Tulia, Texas that sent a large
segment of the black community to prison.
In this startling expose, ABC News Prime Time Live anchor Diane Sawyer
explores skin color prejudice in America with the help of two friends
virtually identical in all respects but one John is white, Glen is black.
Together they take part in a series of hidden camera experiments exploring
people's reactions to each in a variety of situations. Acting within the
scenario of moving to a new town, Prime Time Live, undercover, follows John
and Glen separately as they each try to rent an apartment, respond to job
listings, purchase a car, and conduct everyday activities such as shopping.
The responses in both the white and racially mixed communities are shocking
and consistent. In every instance, John is welcomed into the community while
Glen is discouraged by high prices, long waits, and unfriendly salespeople.
On 23 July, 1999 the tiny Texas town of Tulia woke to discover that a tenth
of its black population had been arrested. This mass arrest followed a
lengthy undercover narcotics sting operation. The entire case rested on the
word of the undercover narcotics officer, Tom Coleman, who ran the operation
single-handedly. He used no partner, no tape recorder, no video
surveillance, no fingerprint evidence and he wrote no notes - apart from
those on his leg. No drugs or money were found during the arrests.
Thirty-eight defendants were convicted or accepted plea bargains for fear
they would get long prison sentences. Who shamed Tulia and how, and what has
happened to justice in the president's home state? Texas Undercover goes
deep behind the scenes of one of America's biggest race scandals of the last
decade. (46 min.)