“One Minute Racist” by Caveh Zahedi

Indie filmmaker Caveh Zahedi has incorporated animation into his features and also made a couple animated shorts, including One Minute Racist, a film whose message is as timely as ever. It was made in collaboration with Ian Danskin and Alan Peterson, who animated the film. The animation is crude as could be imagined, but I’ll choose crudity with a point of view over a slick, aimless display of nothing any day.


  • logicalnot

    Awesome find.

  • http://www.stringstornasunder.blogspot.com Chris Powell

    really dug this. animation with substance :)

  • Hulk

    I find it curious that it seemed to have not occurred to this guy that maybe the Asian guard was being racist against him first. I would guess by the film-maker’s name and the skin tone they gave him that he’s Arab-American or at least could appear to be, and therefore perceived by security guards as a potential terrorist.

    • amid

      The filmmaker is Iranian-American. The story he relates is from his college years, which would place it in the late-80s/early-90s, long before “terrorism” was on anybody’s radar in the US.

      • Hulk

        Thanks for clarifying that. Even so, dark skin and and exotic sounding name are enough to make some people suspicious in the eyes of some security guards. I just find it interesting that that possiblity seems to have not even occurred to this guy. Maybe that’s a testament to how open minded and not racist he really is.

  • Hulk

    May I also add a couple more points-

    1. Cultural stereotypes exist for a reason: they’re based at least somewhat on the truth. Of course not all Asians are uptight and unfriendly, but many Asian cultures in general are more formal and reserved than many Western cultures. Incidentally I’ve heard some people use that as a reason to LIKE Asians. So it’s more about the reaction to the culture than the culture itself.

    2. The silver lining here is that liberal friend didn’t burn any crosses on Asian’s front yards or actively try to stop them from advancing in society. He just didn’t care for them. You can’t force someone to feel a certain way, even if their feeling is misguided ans stupid. If that’s the most racist anyone ever gets from now on, we’re doing OK.

    • Cyle

      I wouldn’t say stereotypes are always based on truth. Stereotypes are based on perceptions, some of which can be completely false. Also, how is being a polite bigot much better than cross burning? Just because someone doesn’t openly display hatred toward another person, that doesn’t mean they’ll hire them for a job or treat them fairly. I wouldn’t call that “doing OK”.

      • Hulk

        I see what you mean. I could’ve made that point better. I was just trying to say what someone else said below, that many if not most people have unfair pre-concieved notions of other ethnic groups. That’s not something you can easily change. But you really can only judge people if they act on it. So as long as he’s not acting on his feelings and knows on some level that they’re wrong, it’s better than the other option. This song from Avenue Q says it best:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc5ztwJvfUA

  • Pete

    Very clever! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    A really fun film, thanks for sharing. I actually found the character animation during the stop motion bits to be quite good. It was a reserved but distinct characterization, with good rhythm and enough accents to stay engaging. Well done!

  • Tim Schuit

    I got a great laugh out of that, and really enjoyed it. A charming little film with a great message.

  • http://ratso.podomatic.com Carl Russo

    A good lesson for the day.

    BTW: How to spot a racist? Someone who opens a sentence with, “I’m not a racist, but…”

  • Jeff Haynes

    PC flaptrap.

  • http://crosshatchlings.tumblr.com/ Dus T’

    Damn, that was fantastic. This is a fine example that animation can be simple yet very impacting. Wow.

  • Alberto

    Asians, aren’t uptight. But they are made of butterscotch and if you catch one in a butterfly-net they turn into a pocket panda you can keep as a pet. It’s true!

  • oh geez

    That was really funny

  • Paul N

    It’s a bit of a stretch to call “Cute Attack” slick…

  • http://woweh.com Kelly

    I liked it! Very powerful. Really makes you think.

  • purin

    My friend who gets that sort of treatment, too, when she presents an ID or credit card (what, you’ve never seen a Latina with a credit card before?) got a good laugh from this.

    It’s true, though. You do “objectively” see something more when you’ve been told to look for it. Even scientists do that.

  • http://www.petelevinfilms.com Why?

    Sorry, but why is this animated? The film’s fine I guess, but there’s no reason why this needed to be animated.

    • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

      Yeah. I don’t see much that animation has brought to it. Chuck Jones had a rather deflating label for productions like this.

      I’m not worse for having watched it, but it might have been more effective as audio only. It’s like a segment from “This American Life”

      • sean

        I think in this case, the animation DOES add something to it, or rather takes something away:
        Identity. The simplified character becomes broader, and helps the dialogue be universal.

      • Was my face red

        See early Aardman, Creature Comforts, Waltz With Bashir and many other animated documentaries. The placing of real audio into a cartoon host gives it a hightened reality it wouldn’t have otherwise. It puts it in the spotlight and, as Sean says, makes it universal.

      • CartoonFan101

        I think what the Rauch brothers are doing with StoryCorps is a better example of universal-ifying anecdotes. Symphony in Slang is another great example of how to take words and cartoon them.

        This would have been better staying audio or a bar conversation. Or dump the dialog and find a way to convey it’s point visually, ie using the medium.

        Not that I’m discounting the value of the words. I’m just questioning why it was animated.

    • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

      Racism can seem like a tired subject. A live action film would have had you examining the narrator the whole time, looking in his eyes for clues as to his motivation, trying to determine if the story is true, and to discern other details. The simple animation makes the viewer focus on the story.

  • BT

    I feel bad for the guy who did Cute Attack. He was probably feeling good when Jerry posted his before, and now he gets shot down by Amid in a different post. I’m not sure why you so often feel the need to pile extra negativity onto the end of a positive post. “Hey check out this, I like this, unlike THIS, which is terrible!”

    But this is an enjoyable short. I don’t really understand why it needs to be animated either, but it works for me. Like Tim Rauch said above it’s a good, subtle performance despite the crudeness of the clay character.

  • pappy d

    All round-eye look same!

  • Kyle Maloney

    My theory is we’re all a little bit racist. Some just know how to hide it better than others. Its often a subconscious thing. We all make judgments, however big or small based on one’s appearance, its only natural. Its how you react to your own preconceived ideas you might have that matters.

    • Cyle

      Well, we’re all prone to prejudice, but it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with race. The idea of race didn’t even exist at one point, but people still had prejudices towards the opposite sex, people from other countries/social classes etc. I think the problem with racism in particular is that we’ve acknowledged racist behavior as archaic and stupid but not the idea of race. It’s really just a lazy way of categorizing people that leads to generalization and ultimately racism.

  • Shawn’s Bro

    I liked the film.

    It told a neat little story that held my interest. The animation didn’t bother me because the “radio” or sound track was interesting enough to listen to even if no pictures were shown with it at all.

    Finally, it made me think “Hey, I know better than to project individual characteristics on any class of individuals.” and so it validated what a cool guy I am.

  • Cyle

    I liked it. I think, sometimes using animation for something like this is advantageous. It can give the film a wider audience (as evidenced by it being posted here). While the animation was crude, it still served its purpose.

  • rghbr

    How does “liberal” mean he’s almost a perfect guy?

    • Dgafusunuman

      Yeah I don’t see how reading Marx and being “liberal and progressive” makes you smart or a great guy.

      • http://ratso.podomatic.com Carl Russo

        One need not be a Marxist to be a progressive liberal.

  • http://drgrantz.deviantart.com/ revned

    He may have been a racist for a minute, but he was an asshole to the security guard for a LOT longer than that; I guess an apology would’ve negated the point.

    • purin

      It was an assholeish thing to do….

      … but it was satisfying!

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Somebody’s gotta say it…
    CUTE ATTACK is more entertaining and interesting.
    This short is nice enough, though.

  • http://www.cementimental.com Tim Drage

    I liked this site better when it was animation news and opinions rather than a good cop bad cop internet trolling team…