Here are a few films I thought would be useful to educate people about how racism affects every facet of society and isn’t always as obvious and blunt as someone being subjected to a racial slur.
13th — In my opinion, this is the most important documentary relating to racism. Slavery was never really abolished, it was modernised, rebranded and repackaged — 13th explains this thoroughly. The documentary, plain and simple, takes the viewer through a timeline which starts with slavery and carries on to the present day, outlining the various ways in which a racist system designed to keep black people as second class citizens still affects today’s society. Netflix have made the film available for free on their YouTube channel.
Boyz N The Hood — Albeit a fictional storyline, the issues addressed in this film are all too real. Problems such as gentrification, poverty and racial profiling are all brought up in this dark yet realistic look at South Central LA in the 1990s.
Central Park Five — The Central Park Five documentary tells a story that epitomises the racist criminal justice system. Coercion, smears and injustice stripped five boys of their youth. The failings of the legal system also meant that the victim of the original crime was denied proper justice.There is also a series about this on Netflix called When They See Us which I haven’t seen and probably never will, mainly because Central Park Five was so gruelling I didn’t really fancy putting myself through the whole ordeal again. It is, however, very important that this story is told. Even after they were exonerated, US President Donald Trump still suggests that the five men are guilty, how can you fix a system that’s rotten from the top down?
Fruitvale Station — A true story that stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant III. On new years day in 2009, a police officer killed Grant. Fruitvale Station chronicles the final 24-hours of Oscar Grant’s life. Oscar Grant was just a normal guy whose life was needlessly cut short, and sadly, this is still happening today.
The Help — This film is about the struggles faced by black maids in 1960s Mississippi. The Help is based on a book of the same name which was written by the sister of one of the maid’s employers – this has been a cause of criticism because the story isn’t that of the maids, but that of a white lady trying to put herself in the shoes of said maids. Now I have some serious qualms about this because the story was technically stolen, and the lawsuit against the author was dismissed. Viola Davis, who portrays one of the maids in The Help, stated in an interview that she regrets making the film. Despite all of this, I do think it’s an important story, but I do believe it could’ve been told a lot better.
If you want to help the Black Lives Matter movement, here’s a link showing various ways in which you can help quickly and efficiently.