I See White People

A quarterly series on the visibility of white racism, white privilege and unacknowledged white cultures in documentary and fiction film.

(This Quarter: How the Irish Became White!)


Frederick Douglass and the White Negro

John J Doherty, 2008, 52 min.

Frederick Douglass and the White Negro tells the story of this 19th-century leader, and author of “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” and his escape from slavery, leading to refuge across the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine. The film focuses on the powerful influence Ireland had on him as a young man. It also explores the turbulent relationship between African Americans and Irish Americans in general. The relationship is exposed as a complex and tragic sequence of events culminating in the bloodiest riot in American history on the streets of New York City. This transatlantic story covers the race issue and is as relevant today as it was when Douglass escaped to Ireland.


The San Patricios: The Tragic Story of the St. Patrick's Battalion

Mark R. Day, 1996,  48 min.

This film investigates the historic U.S.-Mexican War, the desertion of five hundred immigrant soldiers (mostly Irish) from the American army to the Mexican side, and the way historians view this event today. The deserters, who made up St. Patrick's Battalion, are considered traitors in the States, and heroes in Mexico. This documentary tells the complex story and invites viewers to come to their own conclusion about the Irish-American soldiers who changed their name from St. Patrick's Battalion to St. Patricios, and who switched their allegiance overnight.


Saturday, April 23rd- Sunday, April 24th, 7:30pm

Saturday’s Post Screening Discussion: Q&A with Sandy Boyer and Kevin Keating

Sandy Boyer is the co-host and producer of WBAI’s Radio Free Eireann which covers the Irish freedom struggle from an Irish republican point of view. Radio Free Eireann also uses the Irish experience to relate to various liberation struggles around the world. Sandy Boyer has led campaigns to free Irish political prisoners including the Guildford 4, Birmingham 6, and Roisin McAliskey. He has taught Irish history at the Irish Arts Center and lectured on Irish politics and history at numerous colleges and universities and contributed articles on the Irish struggle to publications in Ireland and the US including New Politics, The Irish People, Fortnight, Fourthwrite and The Blanket.

Kevin Keating is the director of the documentary Giuliani Time and did cinematography for When We Were Kings and Harlan County, U.S.A. He is developing a narrative film project about the Patricios titled "Turncoats."