June 25, 2018  (Web Review)

The Great White Hoax

(2017) 72 min. DVD: $34.95: public libraries; $280: community colleges; $350 (w/PPR): colleges & universities. DRA. Media Education Foundation (www.mediaed.org). PPR. ISBN: 978-1-944024-09-3.

Reviewer rating: 3.5/4

Tim Wise, a prolific author and teacher-activist on the subject of race in America, offers an incisive and eloquent assessment of the Trump era in this investigative documentary that offers extensive analysis of how a sizable portion of white America is drenched in alt-right propaganda, disinformation, and lies suggesting that immigrants and people of color are making their lives hard. With an echo chamber of Fox News, talk radio, and Russian bots reinforcing perennial fallacies about welfare queens and immigrants who are purportedly basking in taxpayer-funded services, Wise tells viewers how raw emotion can harden one’s perspective against actual facts. Trump, like other would-be or literal authoritarians, knows exactly how to be a figurehead for those whites who are yearning for a return to mythical days when “America” meant “white people” and not “diversity.” And Wise digs deeper, explaining how the stoking of racial hatred and fanning of xenophobia winds up separating people—particularly working class and those who depend on the justice system—who actually have much in common. A timely and insightful film, this is highly recommended. Aud: C, P. (T. Keogh)