“Not Black and White” is a full length documentary film about the untold story of a Chinese family, originally from Southern China, who made their way to the deep south of America to seek opportunities in the grocery business. This film unveils the unknown position of a community that thrived as a consequence of the racial framework that opened up doors to them in the first place. Issues of racism, discrimination, and Chinese identity intertwine in this story of a Chinese community caught in the crossfire between the black and white divide.
The story follows my grandmother’s family, the Lum family in the late 1930s, focusing on the stories of the sisters who helped their parents run the grocery stores in the black neighborhood of Augusta, Georgia. With eight out of eleven children being girls, stories of their arranged marriages and expectations of their duty under a traditional Chinese household are explored while weaving in how living in the black neighborhood affected their lives and views on their position. By highlighting the untold stories of the Chinese women during those times, a refreshingly alternative perspective on American history is illuminated. Not only does this provide important archival material of missing voices, it begs us to question how racism within a dominant frameworks affects our views and attitudes towards people of color.