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Old 01-26-2005, 12:57 AM   #1
Singing Eagle
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CBC's The Passionate Eye explores racism - rebroadcast Wednesday.

INDECENTLY EXPOSED! KICKS OFF THE PASSIONATE EYE'S SECOND SEASON ON CBC TELEVISION, MONDAY, JANUARY 24 AT 9 PM Repeating Wednesday January 26 at 10pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld

"I'm your resident ***** for the day -- welcome to the workshop!"- anti-racism expert, Jane Elliott

That's how anti-racism expert Jane Elliott describes her role in this reality-based documentary that challenges Canadians attitudes towards Native Canadians. "Even nice Canadians are racist." Whether or not you agree, that's Elliott's starting point as she welcomes and bullies 22 Canadians who have volunteered to participate in her internationally renowned workshop. With cameras rolling, she divides the unsuspecting participants by eye color blue-eyes in one group, brown-eyes (many of them Native Canadian) in the other. Elliott turns the tables on the participants treating the blue eyes as "persons of color", confronting and humbling them, while the "brown eyes" get treated with respect.

Filmed in Regina, Saskatchewan, Indecently Exposed! illustrates and exposes how systemic racism continues to thrive in Canada today. It airs Monday, January 24 at 9 p.m. on THE PASSIONATE EYE on CBC Television.

While there have been other films featuring Elliott's workshops, this is the first time Elliot has brought her controversial workshop to Canada, and Indecently Exposed! focuses its attention on the individual Canadian participants who have 'exposed' themselves to her confrontational and highly effective techniques. These powerful insights into the personal lives of the participants, combined with the intensity of the workshop experience, creates an engrossing emotional and psychological drama that plays out as the blue eyes learn what it is like to be targets of discrimination. Amongst the blue-eyes, Joe, a retired teacher and farmer, attributes most of the problems First Nations people experience to troubles with alcohol. Steve, a store manager, thinks the workshop will be a good chance to share his views on racial prejudice with others. Juanita, an elementary school teacher, is afraid of saying the wrong thing. Trent, a young factory worker, has heard the racial slurs at work, but never thought it was his responsibility to do anything about them. They are all in for a shock.

A member of the brown eyed group, Earnest, an aboriginal youth counselor, states, "Racism is alive and well in Regina, and right across Canada." Michelle, a brown-eyed personnel officer concurs, "When you're told enough times that you don't belong here, that you're not good enough, you start to believe it." Maynard, a manager with Saskatchewan Learning and a residential school graduate says, "I was ashamed of being Indian!"

The purpose of Elliott's workshop is "to convince white-skinned people that they are not God's chosen people," by having them "walk a mile" in the other person's shoes - the shoes of a person of colour. For a few hours, the blue-eyes are subjected to the kind of insults and humiliation that First Nations people experience every day of their lives. The goal, Elliott says, is to find even one person who is willing to stand up and change things, to become an activist, to do something about the problem. For some of the blue-eyes participants, the workshop is a life-changing experience. For others, not much has changed. In reality, perhaps brown-eyed Clayton Maxxi puts it best: "We wish this never existed, that it was just a movie, but it's real!"

Indecently Exposed! is directed by Trevor Grant; produced by
Michael Snook of WestWind Pictures for CBC Television's THE PASSIONATE EYE. Catherine Olsen is the executive producer of THE PASSIONATE EYE.
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