Color and Money
Exercise E: Analysis of Brian Allen
In the film Skin Deep, Brian Allen is a black student at UMass-Amherst who finds the environment at the school a lot different than the high school he attended. Brian mentions that he had many white friends in previous years of school, but he has stuck with people of his own race at UMass. Brian commented on the change for him andproceeded to say, “I couldn’t really have as many interracial relationships. I tried if it happened, but I never really initiated them” (Reid et al, 18:54).Tatum would most likely say Brain falls into the immersion/emersion phase, which she classifies as, “a strong desire to surround oneself with symbols of one’s racial identity, and actively seek out opportunities to learn about one’s own history and culture with the support of same-race peers “(Tatum, 76). Brian mentions he surrounds himself with those of his own race at UMass, but action is the key for success. In talking to a white student later in the film, Brian says, “Come to a black function and even if they question you for being there, stay there, your life has to become an action” (Reid et al, 48:31). At a school with not too many black students, Brian feels the need to associate himself with individuals of his race, who have similar experiences to him. While Brian generally surrounds himself with other blacks, at the end of the film you can see him beginning to fall into the internalization stage, as he speaks out about ‘action’, and his willingness to become friends with opposite race individuals in the group discussion. Brian is an interesting character who is coping with the transition and changes from high school to college and is curious about the changes that can be made.
Skin Deep. By Frances Reid, Sharon Wood, Sarah Cahill, Michael Chin, and Stephen McCarthy. Iris Films, 1995. Videocassette.
Tatum, Beverly Daniel. “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: And Other Conversations about Race. New York: Basic, 2003. Print.