“Shakti Butler’s film dares to speak the unspeakable about the politics of oppression and race in the United States...Women’s voices powerfully fill the emotional and dangerous
void of what is often left unspoken between us. The film offers...hope for our future generations.”
—Fabienne McPhail, Director, Women’s Center, Stanford University

“This work goes beyond a basic awareness of racism to explore the subtle, rarely acknowledged roots of self-hatred and lack of uderstanding even among the most progressive people.” —Gary Delgado, Executive Director, Applied Research Center

Shakti Butler is available for the facilitation of Heart-to Heart Conversations.

The Way Home

Producer/Director: Shakti Butler
Cinematographer: Rick Butler
Editor: Maureen Gosling

Color; 92 minutes/Beta SP/Close-Captioned; English

Women's Studies, Ethnic Studies, American Studies, Gender Studies and more

THE WAY HOME is a powerful, ground-breaking video that investigates racism in our society. It provides new and useful language with which to reach into the core of deep and important issues that too often divide us. The film features the voices of 64 courageous women who came together to talk about race, gender and class in the U.S. Over the course of eight months, these women shared their experiences of oppression through the lens of race. They form eight ethnic councils: Indigenous, African-American, Arab, Asian, European-American, Jewish, Latina, and Multiracial. The result is a collection of stories that presents a picture of women that moves the viewer beyond stereotypes by encouraging dialogue that explores how we, as human beings learning what it is to be human, are both the same and different.

Their conversations provide entree into complex cultural worlds that are often invisible to outsiders. Among them, a half-Japanese woman who, rejected by the Asian Students Union, ends up identifying as a Chicana. A black woman remembers how she felt when, after moving in with her white mother, she realizes she doesn't know anyone who can do her hair. She searches through the Oakland yellow pages in hopes of finding a black hairstylist. A Jewish woman clutches at her abdomen, disgusted by the terror of her own internalized racism.

The women explore their identity, standards of beauty, perceptions of oppression, and when possible, their methods of resistance. In the midst of pain, humor and sadness they find their own revelations. Their dialogue offers a beacon of hope for those who struggle towards equity and real personal change. Woven through the stories are beautiful collages of photos, dance, visual images and music from more than 20 cultures.