Documentaries and Videos About Racial Justice

Publication date: 
June, 2015
Philanthropy Northwest recommends these recordings related to racial justice. Check back for updates and email us your suggestions. This list is adapted from a set of of resources originally compiled by Interaction Institute for Social Change.

Jay Smooth: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race

Jay Smooth is host of New York's longest running hip-hop radio show, the Underground Railroad on WBAI 99.5 FM in NY, and is an acclaimed commentator on politics and culture. In this talk, he discusses the sometimes thorny territory of how we discuss issues of race and racism, offering insightful and humorous suggestions for expanding our perception of the subject.


Systemic Racism for Dummies

A 6-minute viral video for white Americans about racism.


The Unequal Opportunity Race

A series of four short videos (about 5 minutes each). Animated metaphor of race where not everyone starts at the same starting line and three other shorts talking about myths related to affirmative action.


A Tale of Two Schools: Race and education on Long Island

Follows the experiences of two African American young men – one in a high-resourced school and one in a lower-resourced school (~30 minutes total)

Part 1
Part 2



About the experiences of dark skinned people of multiple races and ethnicities and light skinned privilege (about 30 minutes total)


Popularizing Racial Justice: Building clarity, unity and strategy to move us forward

A panel discussion at 2010 Facing Race conference featuring Rinku Sen, Tim Wise, Van Jones, Maria Teresa Kumar (1 hour 34 min)


Melissa Harris-Perry speech at 2010 Facing Race conference

An incisive and also at times hysterically funny taking apart of the notion of a “colorblind” or “post racial” society. (1 hour)


White Privilege: Racism, white denial and the costs of inequality

Tim Wise is an American anti-racism activist and educator. His books include White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, as well as Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority, and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. Since 1995, he has given speeches at over 600 college campuses across the U.S.


A Class Divided

 “One day in 1968, Jane Elliot, a teacher in a small, all-white Iowa town, divided her third grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and gave them a daring lesson in discrimination. This is the story of that lesson, its lasting impact on the children, and its enduring power thirty years later.”


Talks by john a. powell

john a. powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties and a wide range of issues including race, structural racism, ethnicity, housing, poverty, and democracy. He is the Executive Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.


Cracking the Code: The System of Racial Inequity

“This project is designed to deepen and shift the framing of racial disparities in this country.... “The current conversation is not only shallow, but actually harmful. We continue to primarily focus on individuals, when institutional and structural inequities are the bigger problem. We live in a time when we cannot afford to squander our national treasure — the minds and hearts of people.” The film contains three sections that correspond to World Trust’s framing of the self- perpetuating system of racial inequity:

Section 1: Social Determinants: History, Identity & Culture
Section 2: Internal Components: Bias, Privilege, Internalized Racism
Section 3: External Relationships: Interpersonal, Institutional, Structural


Race: The Power of an Illusion

PBS documentary that explores the origins of race and racism, debunking the pseudo-science of race, explaining the history of race and racism and illuminating how public policy and public institutions in the U.S. created the context for today’s racialized communities and outcomes.


Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick?

This documentary series explores how racism and class shape the “social determinants of health,” exploring how various aspects of context affect health outcomes.


True Colors

ABC documentary from late 1990s about two young men, one white and one black, and their experiences getting settled in St. Louis (e.g., buying a car, renting an apartment, shopping, etc.) A little dated but it highlights things that still go on today (being tailed by a store clerk, etc.) (about 20 minutes total)

Part 1
Part 2