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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY—Northern Kentucky University’s Mourning the Creation of Racial Categories (MCRC) Project will present two new films at the 2021 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in Ohio. The films are part of the primary lineup and are available on-demand from June 4 to 19. The Cincinnati Fringe Festival presents over 200 performances of over 40 theatre productions each year.
Guided by Sociology Professors Joan Ferrante and Lynnissa Hillman, the Project partners with visual, creative and performing artists to open conversations around social unrest and racial disparities. MCRC’s new films, “Why White” and “I am White Like You, Right Mom?” tell the stories of how the Black and White Racial Categories came to be.
“Our country has never explored the emotional story of how the racial categories we check on application forms came to be,” said Dr. Ferrante. “As a country, we can never really address racial tensions until we know how and why the racial categories that define us all were made. Our new films provide insights that allow people to see race in new ways. New ways of seeing spark new feelings about race, interest, hope and ultimately change.”
About the films:
This film opens with a patient, who appears white, struggling to declare “White” as his race on a medical form. He asks, “why do my doctors need to know my race?” and “why am I called “White” anyway?” which begins an exploration of how the labels “White” and “Black” came to be and opens the conversation of how White carries the weight of race.
I am White Like You, Right Mom?
In this film, a white-appearing mother must explain to her black-appearing daughter that “you’re not white exactly.” The conversation expands and reveals the story of why, in the U.S., parent and child can be labeled as different races and how race invades the family space.
The ongoing project began in November 2016 and has created five films featuring stories of how racial categories were born. Earlier this year, MCRC collaborated with NKU’s School of the Arts to present an exhibition on the emotional force of race. MCRC’s 2017 documentary has been featured at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and streams on the KET-PBS website. In 2019, the project performed its production “Let Our Loss Be Heard” in the Aronoff Center for the Arts.
The MCRC Project draws artistic talent from NKU School of the Arts, Creative Writing Program and the surrounding community. Visit MCRC’s website for more information on the project and its two films at the Fringe Festival.
About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students’ names. For more information, visit nku.edu.