Racism that very famous Western word that’s all over the web and in news these days, what is it and why the sudden cry?
Racism is a serious issue in the West because of the indoctrination of a historical idea made practice, Whites-Masters and Blacks-Slaves. The violence and hatred that’s so ingrained in the hearts of some racist Americans makes us question the famous slogans like, “Make America Great Again” (hello when was it ever great? In terms of economy yes but in terms of humanism it’s all a crappy lie)and the American Dream slogan, “Equal Opportunity to All”.
America was once Great by the blood and sweat of slavery and as for the second slogan well it’s simply an unfinished statement, “Equal Opportunity to All Whites”.
We from this corner of the world feel strongly for them because as humans we all understand what it is to be denied equal opportunities (coughing:caste).
Thanks to the multitude of movies and series we get to see if not the actual a reflection of their struggles. We can literally trace the history of oppression from before the Civil Rights Movement to the current Black Lives Matter Movement from the movies and shows produced in America. Here are some movies which will be worth your time and internet to know more about the Black lives in America and the reason for the current outcry. (Drum rolls cos I’m zipping up now).
So here’s it,
This is a historical documentary on the thirteenth amendment to the United State’s Constitution which though abolished slavery added that they could be enslaved under punishment for crime and this here is the loophole which the crisp shirted cops used to enslave them back into slavery but with a different label, convicts. The Blacks were arrested even for menial crimes and we’re revoked of their freedom. This suppression of African Americans through a showy law enforcement means became something very common since the abolition of slavery. The film explores the lives of the blacks especially of the prisoners in a very fact to fact manner. If you want to know how they’ve been demonized by the political and legislative institutions this should be your first watch.
Django Unchained (2012)
Kay now this is a must watch for two main reasons, one if you’re an ardent Tarantino fan and two if you want to experience what slavery was like before the abolition in a bloody ghoul manner. In a line you have no control over your body or life under slavery. Django is a slave whose only goal in life is to free his wife from slavery. This movie apart from showing how bloody the slavery was also shows how not all blacks were victims and not all whites were evil there were a few who chose to grow a spine and face the consequences, death mostly. The movie ends with Django with the help of Schultz a White unchains himself and his wife from slavery after a bloody adventure. A word of caution, watch it only if you have the stomach for it, cos it’s blood and more blood.
12 Years a Slave:
This is an adaptation of the 1853 slave memoir by Solomon Northup, a free man, a musician who was kidnapped and sold into slavery and faced the persecutions of slavery for 12 years until an uncommon white man helped him out of it. This movie takes us back to the plantation grounds of sweat and blood, it made me feel that death was a far better option than be exhausted physically and sexually by the slave owners, it also focused on the emotional experiences that the slaves went through living a life of dead separated from their family and loved ones. This movie is sad yet has a happy ending at least for Northop so a little sunshine in the end.
The Help (2011):
The Help is an adaptation of Katherine Stockett’s novel, “The Help” which centers around two characters who are funny and witty in tacking their itchy insensitive racist employers(cos this is set in 1963). Set in Jackson, Mississippi the hot hub of racial manslaughters the Black women start telling their stories of oppression that they face in their White employers houses with the help of a white woman who exposes the lives of the Black home helps. This movie unlike many makes you go not boohaahaa but YooooHaaaHaa and fan support their everymove. This movie will give you a perspective on how white women oppressed the Black women in their own ways.
The African Doctor (2016):
The African Doctor is a semi biographical movie on the life of Seyolo Zontoko, the father of musician Kamini. If people say that education redeems people from oppression and gives them an equal social standing in the society then this movie is for such people to prove them wrong. The movie revolves around Zontoko one of the first Black men to have graduated from medical school, his struggle to be accepted by a narrow minded European society which take him for a witch because of his colour. How Zontoko earns their trust and becomes loved is the central plot of the story. This is a funny yet important movie which brings out the fight they have to put to be accepted in the society.
The Colour Purple (1985):
This movie is an adaptation of a novel by Alice Walker. Unlike other movies in the list which portrays just White’s exploitation of the Blacks this one talks about double levels of oppression, of the whites and of the blacks. It revolves around Celie an African American woman in Georgia who’s faced abuse within and outside her boundary rising up to speak up for herself. This movie shows clearly that Black men’s experiences of race is different from Blank women’s in a very subtle manner. Though there are very few instances of Whites abusing the Blacks here the politics of gender and race are well brought out in this movie.
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017)
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (2017): This documentary as it goes is centred on the suspicious death of the LGBTQ activist Marsha P.J. who was found dead one day floating on the Hudson River. If living as equals is yet an unattained dream for the straight blacks then it more than explains what it might be for the people of the LGBTQ community. M.P.J with her powerful voice wouldn’t be shut down and this terrorized the officials. Why should you watch a documentary on her? Heard of the Stone Wall Uprising well one of the prominent figures to throw the first stone was her. This heart wrenching powerful documentary is a must watch this pride month.
Remastered:The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019)
This documentary film revolves around the activist Sam Cooke and his mysterious death. Cooke’s powerful voice found it’s way to the ears of the public through his rapturing music, his songs recounts the stories of the Blacks status in America. Having lived a life of fight and success Cooke’s life though short was a life worth remembering and a life that demands justice. This powerful documentary reminds us of many other Black artists who have recounted their experiences through songs and other art pieces which are heard, seen and enjoyed but never listened.
Get on The Bus (1996)
This is a movie which is about a group of 15 African American men who are journeying towards Washington D.C. to attend the Million Man March. The men bond over the journey, share their past, most of which are linked to their race. The movie is truthful in the sense that it doesn’t throw a halo at one and a black shade on the other rather it shows how the Blacks could also be insensitive towards other ethnic minorities in America. I loved this movie because it didn’t turn a blind eye to the cracks in it’s own pot but acknowledged that it’s a cautious choice of the individuals to be good or bad.
American Son (2019)
This movie is about a young biracial kid getting lost in U.S. and the fear that the mother faces. This movie will help us to understand why African American women often are under lots of stress, because their life is not safe in a place where they are only partially accepted. The fear that African Americans go through everyday is brought about brilliantly through the fears of the mother, she recalls her days at school when she was cornered and acted as a token black figure in a school of whites just like her son Jamal now. When I read other reviews on this movie, I realised that the fears represented in the movies are true everyday fears that the Blacks face in their everyday life.
This documentary film is about Michelle Obama who recounts her experiences of being black in a society which was (is) prejudiced against the Blacks. This docu is an intimate look into the life of Obama which gives strength for the other Black women and kids to stand up and give the fight to succeed. This powerful, motivating documentary shows how no one is exempted from racial oppression in U.S. and how it’s in the hands of the parents to raise the kids stronger to face the world.
Self Made (2020)
This is a miniseries inspired by the life of Madam C.J.
Walker the first African American self made millionaire. This series is a turn from the usual dark history towards a bright future, movies and series like these give hope to the younger generation to strive hard and win the fight.
Though some might find the story line trivial because it all starts when Walker realizes that there’s no hair line products for black women and decides to start her line , it shows an important issue of how something though trivial was denied to the Black women in the name of “not existing” and we all know how a bad hair day can affect us right?
So for me this is a beautiful take on how every matter trivial or not is important for growth.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions but there are just so many movies and series which deals with racism if not primarily atleast through some scenes or few episodes.
So let’s just become a little more awake and notice these in entertainment and let’s not forget that we see it in our own Indian life too where being fair browned is preferred to any other shades of brown.
So while we’re at it let’s end it at home too.