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COUNTERPUNCH LETTERS

Seeing the World Through Other Eyes

February 12, 1996

Once again in the article "Blacks Also Want Their Story Told" (Calendar, Jan. 29), I read the assertion by unnamed industry "authorities" that "the white audience is not interested in stories about African Americans." As a white person who frequently attends movies, reads many books and watches far too much television, I have to protest. I am very interested in stories about African Americans, especially when told by African Americans.

There is no problem in American life greater than the racism that is at our society's core. To understand this problem and to deal with it, we need to know and honor each other's stories. African Americans have seen white stories ad nauseam, but we whites have little idea of what ordinary life is like for black Americans--or people of any other race or country, for that matter.

Film is a perfect medium for this storytelling. If I as a white person physically enter the African American's world, I alter the scene by my very presence. But film can allow me to see their world through their eyes. And the more I am able to do this the more I discover the things we share in our humanness and upon which we can begin building a better society.

Movie executives, don't assume that I only can be entertained by watching clones of myself. Black America, tell me your story!

MARIA F. BARBEE

Woodland Hills

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