This is a personal documentary that confronts my racism, especially as a white cisgender male. It’s approximately 15 minutes long. This video follows and explains my racist behaviors as a teenager and young adult and my transition into having anti-racist values. It explores the location in which I was raised, and how my relationship with Traverse City, Michigan played a role in developing my racist behaviors. This is not meant to be an excuse for my racism, nor a justification of it, but rather it’s an exploration of the journey it took for me to let go of old behaviors and embrace new values.
The video is woven together through an open letter to my younger self, and supplemented by videos and stills that reflect how my relationship with the environments I’m in and have been in, have influenced me.
Caelum Gay is an artist who works primarily in photography and video. He is interested in introspective work that often exudes vulnerability. The subjects that Caelum has addressed in his works have included, mental illness, addiction, and most recently his racism. This video, An Open Letter to My Younger Self, explores his journey through racism and how he has landed in his commitment to anti-racist values. Caelum’s work is largely based on personal experience regarding the subject matter he’s focusing on. This is especially true for this thesis video which is based solely on personal experiences, growth, and understanding. Caelum is looking forward to continuing his exploration of video as his main creative outlet. In the future, Caelum hopes to collaborate with more filmmakers and communities to create meaningful entry points for dialogues that are difficult to talk about.