An amazing photo album of Danish photographer Jacob Holdt who spent
time over thirty years in small farming towns in the Southern US in the early 1970s.
As seen through the eyes of a foreigner this presentation is about how such racial attitudes cripple our character, whatever our color. Though there is plenty of racism in Europe, I was fortunate to have my childhood in Denmark during years when I was not severely hurt by social insecurity and racist conditioning. I was also fortunate that the first people I stayed with in America were not white. Most European visitors stay first with white Americans, who warn them, “Don’t walk three blocks this way or two blocks that way,” and immediately frighten them into accepting white fear and rigid segregation.
My experience was just the opposite. The first American home to take me in was a black home on the south side of Chicago. With all their love, warmth and openness, I immediately felt at home and saw whites only as cold distant faces on TV or in hostile suburbia.
Later, traveling into the white world, I was no longer as vulnerable to its racist patterns of guilt and fear. I hitchhiked 118,000 miles and stayed in over 400 homes in 48 states. I had arrived with only $40. Twice a week I sold my blood plasma to earn the money I needed for film.
4 times I was attacked by robbers with pistols,
2 times I managed to avoid cuts from men with knives,
2 times frightened police drew guns on me,
1 time I was surrounded by 10-15 blacks in a dark alley and almost killed.
1 time I was ambushed by the Ku Klux Klan,
several times I had bullets flying around me in shootouts,
2 times I was arrested by the FBI, and 4 times by the Secret Service.
I lived with 3 murderers and countless criminals…..
…but I have never met a bad American!