Arizona filmmakers spark discrimination discussion at ACLU event

Co-director Matty Steincamp says he learned a lot about transgender rights when making the film. “There’s a lot of hatred and discrimination systemically surrounding transgender rights.” (Photo by Molly Stellino/Cronkite News)

The ACLU hosted a Q&A session after the screening of “You Racist, Sexist Bigot.” Audience members shared their stories and asked the directors questions. (Photo by Molly Stellino/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – Eunique Yazzie quit the best job she’d ever had after her male co-workers repeatedly called her “native candy.”

“It was destroying who I thought I was,” she said.

Yazzie, a single mother who works full time, was emotional after reflecting on her experiences with racism. She was one of dozens who attended a screening of the documentary “You Racist, Sexist, Bigot” at an American Civil Liberties Union centennial celebration in Phoenix last month.

The film documents residents of the Phoenix area and their contact with discrimination.

“They’re shining a light that these things happen,” Yazzie said. “It’s giving people perspective.”

“We have a lot of work to do,” Eunique Yazzie said after watching “You Racist, Sexist, Bigot.” (Photo by Molly Stellino/Cronkite News)

Arizonans Matty Steincamp and Pita Juarez directed “You Racist, Sexist, Bigot” to showcase the stories of about twenty people of different races, sexuality, religion, political beliefs and genders living in the Phoenix area.

Steincamp said the hour-long film, consisting of intimate shots of diverse faces dictating derogatory names they’d been called, aimed to spark conversations about discrimination in the United States today. It will continue to be shown around the country.

“Listening is a big part of it,” Steincamp said. “Making sure that we’re listening to the conversations that are being said and not just thinking that we know it all.”

He said that it’s a huge honor that the ACLU included “You Racist, Sexist, Bigot” as part of its national centennial tour.

“This was a perfect marriage,” he said, “having this celebration of justice all while we’re celebrating a film that is stories of people and injustices in society.”

– Video by Austin Westfall/Cronkite News

At Civic Space Park, adjacent to the building in which the film was screened, ACLU members set up interactive exhibits to inform the public about voting rights, mass incarceration and the immigration system.

Participants could pick up phones and listen to the stories of incarcerated people, watch videos about the complexities of mass incarceration or look at infographics about the immigration system in the United States.

Isis Gil, a Smart Justice organizer for the ACLU of Arizona, said that “You Racist, Sexist, Bigot” was an effective complement to the event.

“The movie connects to everything that we’re trying to do because of the fact that it genuinely talks to the struggles and the pain that we’re seeing in particular in Arizona,” she said.