Racial Injustice Through The Silver Screen
On May 25, a man by the name of George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers, Derek Chavin. Whilst he was working as a grocery store clerk a customer called the police to report what they suspected a counterfeit 20 dollar bill.
In broad daylight, Chauvin alongside three other police officers (J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao) arrived at the scene, pointed a gun at him, and handcuffed him. The police officers pinned Mr. Floyd to the street and held him down. Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck preventing him from breathing.
Since then the world now knows George Floyd, as another victim of police brutality. A video of him was taken by a bystander and posted online which shows him begging for air. This day is to be remembered as another hate crime amongst the years on years of violence against black people which sparked protests worldwide to fight for racial equality.
If you are on social media, you are well aware that our feeds have been filled with stories, petitions, and donation sites for black lives matter. During this time we are being given countless resources to educate ourselves and others, one is through film.
The film industry has produced many films that aim to teach audiences about our world's socio-political issues. This medium is extremely important as it powerfully tells these stories to gain attention and evoke emotion from the viewers. With this being said, I thought I would contribute a couple of films that highlight the corrupt history of racial inequality.
The movie, The Hate U Give, follows the story of a girl named Starr Carter witnesses the horrific death of her best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Through the traumatic event, Starr feels now more than ever she must raise her voice and fight for what is right.
The film is set in modern-day time and addresses extremely prevalent issues. Amandla Stenberg’s performance is remarkably compelling and draws the attention of the watcher to see the pain and anger that stems from police brutality.
The 2016 documentary, 13th, discusses the history of racial discrimination, specifically in the United States. The title comes from the thirteenth amendment in the US Constitution that was ratified after the civil war, stating that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
The film primarily focuses on the flaws of the criminal justice system, and the disproportionate number of African Americans incarcerated. Ava DuVernay and Spencer Averick wrote one of the most impassioned and thought-provoking films as it provocatively showcases the evolution of racism through interviews and analysis compelling individuals to listen and pay attention to the facts.
The Color Purple, directed by Stephen Spielberg is based on the novel, The Color Purple, written by Alice Walker. The film portrays the life of a young black girl, named Celie, in the early 1900s based in Georgia.
Celie is raped and impregnated at the age of 14 by her father. After she gives birth to her two children, she is torn away from her sister Sofia who serves as a strong female character determined to fight the system, and is sold to an abusive man as a wife and a servant. The film captures Celie’s journey in a cruel world, but emphasizes the strength and hope she builds amongst all the tragedy.
These are just some of the multiple films out there that can help educate you about the history of racism. If you are interested in delving into more films you can look into When They See Us, Selma, The Help, Seven Seconds, Harriet, Serpico, and Queen & Slim.