Five Movies To Watch To Learn About Injustice
The spotlight is shining on the injustice and mistreatment that continue to plague minority populations throughout the United States. As those truths become more prevalent, so many individuals have reached out to ask, “How can I help?” Acknowledging there is a need to help is the first step, but it is the first in a long ling of steps that will seem innumerable. Education is the key to understanding the impact of racism in the United States. The school system has failed to teach the truth about how this country has mistreated Black people for centuries. But there is a list of great films that dive into the conversation in an educational and easy to consume fashion. These are suggestions for five films to help anyone understand the impact of racism within the United States.
Award-winning director Ava DuVernay deserves all o the respect that should be put on her name. Her 2016 documentary, 13th takes a long look at the impact of mass incarceration of the black community. This film is named after the amendment that ended slavery in the United States, but the premise is that the propagation of criminal justice system has allowed for the continuance of legalized slavery. This documentary looks at how the privatized prison industry creates millions for corporations while damaging the poor communities that are over-policed. Watching this documentary gives a stronger understanding to the business behind policing and the prison system which are both used as tools of power over minority communities.
13th is available on Netflix.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Continuing the focus on police brutality, Spike Lee’s 1989 film, Do the Right Thing hits on the topic hard. Set in Brooklyn, this film captures the tension that is felt in many communities dealing with adversarial relationships with the police. Even though there’s hints of comedy sprinkled into this film, it speaks a true narrative that was prevalent more than three decades ago and is still rampant today.
Do the Right Thing is available on Amazon Prime
Freedom Riders (2010)
During the 60s there were several groups that put themselves in harm’s way to fight for Civil rights. Our educational system has whitewashed many of those stories to downplay the danger they faced and the impact of their work. There is many groups and moments that just are not taught at all. The Freedom Riders fall into that latter group. Freedom Riders is a 2010 documentary that chronicles the work this group did during 1961 and beyond. This group is also heavily covered in the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. What is important about the Freedom Riders is that this was a widely interracial group that traveled across the south to fight for equality and were often met with physical violence from white people in those states. It shows the importance of allyship in the fight for equal rights.
Freedom Riders is available on Amazon Prime.
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
James Baldwin is an important name not only for his work on Civil rights for African Americans but fighting for equal rights for the LGBTQ community as well. I Am Not Your Negro is a 2016 documentary that uses Baldwin’s words and works to provide information about pivotal civil rights such as Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X. Baldwin is one of the most important African American writers of all time and his works still ring true today. The documentary is presented through the Baldwin’s unfinished work, Remember This House.
I Am Not Your Negro is available on Amazon Prime.
Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 (2017)
Millions of people have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and injustice in the last few weeks. This is not a new picture as protests have occurred throughout American history. Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 looks at how police brutality and unrest boiled over after several traumatic experiences that include Operation Hammer, the beating of Rodney King and the death of Latasha Harlins. All these matters broiled over into what became the LA riots in 1992. Civil unrest reached a point of no return there in ways that are very similar to what is occurring across the nation today, making this documentary must see to understand all the justified anger.
Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 is available on Netflix.