Documentary 'Black Girl In Suburbia' to be screened April 13

“Black Girl in Suburbia,” an award-winning documentary that examines the experience of black girls living in mostly white areas, will be shown on the UO campus Thursday, April 13.

Directed by Melissa Lowery, the film will be screened from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Room 282, Lillis Hall. Afterward, Lowery and a UO faculty panel will hold a question-and-answer session covering what racial inclusivity means at predominantly white institutions.

The film draws off Lowery’s experience growing up in West Linn and her daughter’s experiences today. It looks at suburbia from the perspective of women of color.

“It’s about growing up in a predominantly white community as one of the very few kids of color,” Lowery told PDX Monthly in September 2015. “We talk a lot about stereotypes, the small micro-aggressions that you get day to day — for instance, someone coming up to you and asking general questions about black people, assuming that you speak for every black person in the world.”

Lowery, director of diversity and inclusion at Jesuit High School in Portland, also said many issues brought up by the girls she interviewed for the film are exactly what she went through 20 years ago. Among them are such difficulties as dating and the awkward exchange that happens when the class is being taught about Black History Month and everyone looks at the lone black student.

Although “Black Girl in Suburbia” limits itself to Oregon, Lowery has received messages from around the country saying other people have gone through the same thing.

“I realized this is way bigger than me; this isn’t just Oregon,” Lowery said. “There are pockets of West Linn all over the country.”

To learn more about the screening, visit the webpage.

The event is hosted by the Department of English and the Writing Composition Program with support from the College of Arts and Sciences, Division of Undergraduate Studies, Teaching Engagement Program, Oregon Humanities Center, English Department Diversity Committee, folklore department, cinema studies, ethnic studies, Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence, Division of Equity and Inclusion, EMU Center for Student Involvement’s “The Be Series,” the Women of Color Faculty Group and the Black Student Union.