Review: Who We Are


My best friend and I thought we knew what needed to be known. We really weren’t enthused about the title or the short blurb describing this film, but we decided to give it 10 minutes. I turned on “Who We Are” and we forgot about our timing. When Jeffery Robinson said he thought he knew it all after graduating from Marquette and Harvard Law School, and then he bothered to learn more, and began to tell that more, we were caught up.

“Who We Are” begins with a couple things. First, Robinson grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and participated, with his dad, in the demonstration march held the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated there on April 3, 1968. The day of that demonstration was also the day Larry Payne was assassinated after being chased from the march by police into a shed. A news clip shows him coming out with his hands up and a police officer sticking a rifle against his stomach and pulling the trigger.

The other thing the film began with was Robinson stopping to talk to a tall, good-looking white man holding a confederate flag. The guy explained that enslaved people were treated like family. So Robinson asked him if it would be okay with him if he enslaved him and treated him like family.

Robinson remarks, “Unconscious or deliberate bias is the same thing.”

He shows us binding shackles designed for 3 and 4 year olds. He shows us the third verse of the “Star Spangled Banner” that reads: “Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

And he shows us a $20 bill adorned with the face of a slave-owner who advertised for a runaway promising “ten dollars extra, for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of three hundred” (Andrew Jackson, 1804).

After the emancipation, the slave-owners were compensated for their slaves but the emancipated slaves were not compensated for their work or enslavement.

Did you know all these things?

America, he explains, this is who we were and still, today, who we are.

He acknowledges that those of us living right now had nothing to do with the slave trade, but then, through time, he shows us the ways in which White Privilege has perpetuated the oppression.

I guarantee there is not an intelligent, already-knows-it-all, English-speaking person in America who would not be glued and open-eyed to Robinson’s presentation.

Rating: 10/10


Directors: Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler
Producers: Jeffery Robinson, Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Andrea Crabtree, Vanessa Hope, Susan Korda, Katharine Nephew, Jayashri Wyatt
Writer: Jeffery Robinson
Featuring: Jeffery Robinson, Josephine Bolling McCall, Gwen Carr, Tiffany Crutcher, Carolyn Payne, and Tami Sawyer.
Editing: Emily Kunstler
Released: March 21, 2021 (film festival circuit) and Jan. 14, 2022 (limited)

Official Websites: and

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