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“The House We Live In” by California Newsreel Essay (Movie Review)

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Updated: Jul 29th, 2022

There have been many studies on racial segregation in the United States since the middle of the 20th century. However, not all of them openly state that the phenomenon of race is not biological, but social. An excerpt from California Newsreel’s third documentary series, “The House We Live In”, largely unifies social institutions and discrimination against black people. The video tells the story of immigration, housing, and social problems faced by Americans over seventy years ago.

Before watching the video, I knew that black people in big cities could not buy a house in the center, hence they settled in the countryside and formed ghettos. Nevertheless, it was a discovery to me that over time such areas were subject to gentrification, and white people occupied the former lands of the blacks. This process was gradual, therefore it was not uncommon for a white person to refuse to buy a house because their neighbor was black (California Newsreel). In other words, the financial reserves were always in places where black people were absent.

An excerpt from the documentary is full of historical details, interviews, and archive footage. Together they allow taking a deeper dive into the middle of 20th century America. However, the highlight was the announcer’s speech at 18:25, when she spoke about what was happening to areas that were abandoned by white families and businesses, but still had black people in them (California Newsreel). Infrastructure and governance in such areas were disappearing, leaving the residents of the areas in the hands of anarchy.

This chapter demonstrated the terms of the socio-economic crisis in which the silent generation lived. An aversion to black people was expressed not only emotionally, but also financially. However, members of this race were not at all to blame for being in distress. On the contrary, it was a series of interconnected historical events that had led to segregation. It must be clearly understood that thce, according to the director, had no biological nature. Without considering the genetic context, it was essential to realize that racism was not only the fault of whites, who were opposed to the neighborhood of blacks, but also of financial organizations, institutions, and policies. America’s current generations were on the path to redemption, hence we must not lose hope that segregation and racism would be just historical facts for the foreseeable future.

References

Vimeo, uploaded by California Newsreel, 2016.

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IvyPanda. "“The House We Live In” by California Newsreel." July 29, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-house-we-live-in-by-california-newsreel/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "“The House We Live In” by California Newsreel." July 29, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-house-we-live-in-by-california-newsreel/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) '“The House We Live In” by California Newsreel'. 29 July.

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