One America - Skin Deep

Program: Skin Deep, Berkeley, CA
Contact(s): Frances Reid, Director: (510) 845-5415
Purpose: To encourage interracial dialogue among teens and adults

"Skin Deep" is a documentary film that was made in 1995 in response to increasing racial tensions and incidents of racial violence on college campuses. The filmmaker went to colleges around the country and interviewed over 200 students before selecting a group to participate in a facilitated weekend workshop of interracial dialogue. A diverse group of students were chosen for their willingness to speak candidly and constructively about the difficult and often unspoken issues surrounding race, ethnicity and racism. The film has been distributed to over 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide, as well as to high schools, churches, corporations, police departments, correctional institutions and many community organizations. A comprehensive study guide was created to accompany the film for use in leading discussions on the issues raised in the film. In 1996-97, the director traveled to 10 colleges around the country for screenings of the film, followed by facilitated discussion. Some colleges now use the film as required viewing for first-year students. In November 1997, the film was nationally broadcast on PBS and ten PBS affiliates were given mini-grants to promote racial dialogue within their local communities in conjunction with the broadcast. Iris Films, the sponsoring organization, has also created an interactive web site ( to provide a space to continue the dialogue on the Internet.

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