Bomb Town - Abstract
In 1950, Horace Bonner’s South Dallas home was bombed with dynamite while he, his wife and his mother-in-law slept peacefully. Bonner and his family escaped injury, his home was severely damaged, and this was not an isolated incident. Between February 1950 and July of 1951, a dozen Black homeowners were bombed in the night in an organized effort to drive Black families from white South Dallas neighborhoods. No one was convicted of the bombings despite evidence of the crimes being organized through connections to a local church. The Dallas Morning News published letters to the editor that pragmatically justified the viscous attacks. With violent disregard, white South Dallas’ message rang clearly in 1950: Black families were to remain in their own communities like nearby Bon Ton, or they would live in Bomb Town.
Dating back to the days of Jim Crow, South Dallas’ Black community has survived marginalization including through redlining, economic segregation, government policies of slum clearance and isolation by elevated highway construction. The South Dallas community’s story is central to Bomb Town’s examination of the origins and normalization of institutional racism in the United States.
Through expert analysis and commentary Bomb Town illuminates our culture’s now-normalized connections to the deepest heart of institutional racism. The documentary series identifies the basic central ideas behind still-thriving slavery- and Reconstruction-era myths that are invisibly integrated into today’s American culture. Through insightful presentations by experts in the fields of public relations, advertising, criminal justice, ethics and education, Bomb Town connects the insidious myths and ideas behind racism to agendas, connects agendas to narratives, narratives to practices, practices to the norm and, eventually, the norm to culture. By reverse-engineering the narrative and persuasive processes that have normalized institutional racism, Bomb Town reveals a path for our culture to disconnect from institutional racism by understanding and separating from the core ideas that perpetuate it.
Illustrated by the history and contemporary stories of South Dallas communities, Bomb Town blends expert commentary on the perpetuation of institutional racism with real stories of its effect on people. Bomb Town also explores how “error blindness”… the empowering way you feel right when in fact you are wrong… is both the glue that holds together institutional racism and the fuel that propelled its origins.
With honest and stark filmmaking, Bomb Town traces the reasons for institutional racism back to its origins and unravels their connections to present day. Educational, illuminating and real, Bomb Town makes a refreshingly impactful statement during the nation’s overdue awakening to the pernicious depth of institutional racism in the US.