Review: ‘Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America”

The documentary follows criminal defense and civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson as he draws a stark timeline. 

Directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, daughters of civil rights attorney William Kunstler, the documentary is centered around a lecture given by Jeferey Robinson in front an invited audience at New York’s Town Hall. 

Robinson lays out a clear, straight-forward, logical, impassioned and enlightening  presentation of evidence, showing how racism was embedded into the Constitution of the United States, analyzing critically the background behind certain statements that were intended to camouflage their racist intent against a large number of Black people who were already enslaved, and to ensure that racist policies would continue to the benefit of white slaveowners and the financial betterment of white people in general. 

While the lecture provides the foundation of the arguments presented, the film also follows Robinson as he visits various landmarks, both historic and modern, to gather further evidence from eyewitnesses and experts to relate information that is eye-opening and, sometimes, rather shocking for white people, myself included, to learn. 

Adding further to the film’s cumulative power are the ruminations that Robinson supplies on his own relevant personal history, from his childhood through adolescence and into adulthood. Robinson recounts his experiences without rancor, which makes the viewer even more cognizant of the great injustices that have been committed upon millions of people over many decades. 

The Kunstler sisters have made a compelling film that deserves the attention of anyone who has a heart. And a head.

The film opens on Friday, February 4 at the Angelika Dallas and Plano, AMC Stonebriar 24, AMC Firewheel 18, AMC Grapevine Mills 30, AMC Irving Mall 14, AMC Mesquite 30, AMC Parks at Arlington 18, and AMC Village on the Parkway 9.