Journal Postings

Group D

03/28/02 (Do The Right Thing)


Roxann Biberstine

I have mixed feelings about the movie "Do the Right Thing." On one side, I was annoyed with certain aspects of the film. On the other, I can see how those very aspects, as well as others make a powerful statement.

One thing I did not enjoy was how the movie did not really seem to have a definite plot. Sure there was defiantly a climax, but in some ways, I didn't really feel like the movie would actually lead into that intense of a scene. However, it seemed the point was to show "real-life" in a given day. In considering that, it makes a lot of sense.

In addition, I didn't appreciate the sense of hopelessness I felt afterwards. Granted, I realize that this is not necessarily a bad thing; it is good for me to gain some understanding of life beyond Midwest America. Racism is obviously a huge problem, and while nearly incomprehensible for me, it is clear that its roots run deep. I was just frustrated in the way the movie frequently beckoned us to "Fight the Power" but never really demonstrated how to do this. In some ways, I felt the movie was encouraging violence, but at the same time, it was also pointing out how completely devastating and often pointless violence can be.

This dichotomy was also made clear in the two quotes at the end of the film. First of all, we read Martin Luther King, Jr.' s words on the uselessness of violence in bringing an end to racism. Then a quote from Malcolm X seems to be encouraging the use of violence to some degree. Throughout the piece, the two were simultaneously uplifted as leaders against racism. Perhaps this obvious tension points to actions centering around nonviolent resistance as means for an effective change. If this is the case, the movie does this in an elusive way.

First of all, it shows that doing nothing is wrong. Then it demonstrates the dangers of violence. But the two opposing forces are never really brought together in a positive way to let the public know what you should. Maybe that is the point. Spike Lee obviously wanted this film to invoke thought into the minds of viewers. It could be he felt that if people watching the film truly get the point and view racism as a threat to society, they will also have the intelligence and morals to consider what the film is communicating about effective "retaliation."

While I did not listen to these clips, I thought this could be a valuable page for gaining a bit more understanding about King and Malcolm X's agendas.


Kelly Sander               


I do not consider myself to be racist in anyway shape or form, however watching this movie I found myself conjuring up thoughts that may be considered racist.   For example a common stereotype of blacks is that they are lazy.   Well during the movie I kept thinking to myself “yep…they really are lazy.”  Of all of the blacks that were shown on the video Mookie seemed to be the only one working to make a living and to make something of himself.  Another common stereotype is that blacks are disrespectful.  When I saw how they treated the mayor, calling him a bum, I had a passing thought that maybe they really are disrespectful.  But the thing thought that haunted me most during the movie was intolerance to members of another race.

For example, the three old men sitting on the sidewalk hated the Chinese.  The Jamaican man made a comment about “they have been off the boat for a year” but did he really have a right to make this comment seeing that he too was an immigrant?  Or does he automatically have the right to verbally bash someone of another race because of his skin color and the fact that the Chinese opened a store in an all black neighborhood?

But the most profound part of the movie stemmed from “Buggin’ Out” getting upset over there being no pictures of black people on Sal’s wall of fame.  It surprised me that he through a fit over this.  After all, Italian Americans are a minority group and it upset me that someone who is always demanding respect as a minority group would treat another minority group so harshly.  I guess one can argue that because Italian Americans have olive skin they can be consider white and it could be argued that having only white pictures on the wall is racist.  However, most Italian Americans have very black hair and very curly hair and in the summer when they are tanned, they can be mistaken for a light skinned black person. 

Because of the swelling hatred a young man was killed by two police officers and a riot occurred that caused the destruction of Sal’s Famous Pizzeria, which had been at that locale for years.  I wonder did this happen because it was so hot out and people tend to be more on edge when it is hot?  Would it have happened if it were sixty degree outside on a rainy spring day?  Would this have happened if it were twenty degrees on a blistery winter day?  Was there really so much hatred and anger built up between the community members that this would have happened no matter what time of day it was?

One of Spike Lee’s quotes on this web page caught my attention.  He said, “I've been blessed with the opportunity to express the views of black people who otherwise don't have access to power and the media. I have to take advantage of that while I'm still bankable."  Well I think he should be showing more positive views of black people, maybe that way we would be able to get rid of some of the current stereotypes.  As it is now, his movies generally play off these stereotypes and only increase people’s feelings and hatred towards blacks.


Brittney Selden


Bukombe Shindika

It is just amazing to see how the Italian guy with all the opposition he faced managed to stay where he was, with courage charity, good heart and an evident pure love towards people who did not like him.

The African American in the neighbourhood, did not like anybody to live in the neighborhood in which they claimed to be theirs. They did not like Caucasians & Asians to be seen in that neighborhood. It was very open. One of the three men who were always chatting in there jobless corner openly confessed how he did like the Chinese guy prospering in his neighbourhood. Another example, is when an African American young guy got hit accidentally by a Caucasian guy and reacted very furious.  There was no a serious case to take justifiying him to harrass the Caucasian guy besides the fact that the Caucasian young man begged for a pardon. Another scene was when the guy (who got  killed by the policeman at the end of the movie) went to a group of Hispanic people with his huge radio just to disturb them with no clear reasons. Even though it was his common behaviour to walk around with a loud music turned on, there was no reason for him to go there to make disturbance to these Hispanics who were enjoying themselves with there Hispanic music. But on the other hand the Pizza shop owner had a son who really hated the African American with no reason too, he couldn't even stand seeing them around. The saddest part of the movie was when the young African American man who was employed in the Pizza shop and even promised to be there permanently as an employee regardless of his boss death. He still hated the boss and his two sons. This was quite clear when he stepped out as a first person to break the Pizza shop when his was beaten up by the guy who used to walk with his huge radio.

It is sad that the Pizza men loved these people with all his heart helped them to the best of his ability but the same people he cared for destroyed his shop and wanted to kill him. I think he was disappointed by the whole event.


Jon Spradling


Scott Van Eman


Philip Whitley

After watching do the right thing i was interested in doing some research on present day race relations in America. I found it somewhat strange that that amount of violence could stem from such a small act as not having diversity in the wall of fame. Indeed however I found that there have been lesser things that have happened that could set off violent racial issues. Soem of hte quotations on this page shocked me as to how a person could be so ignorant and stubborn to be proud of their racism. Spike Lee showed American's duality towards racism when he put the opposting viewpoints of Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X at the end of his film. It was really that part that got me wondering how racist people are. When I came to this site it was really put into perspective just how racially divided this country is. Perhaps it is these views are just the overstated mouth of leaders from extreme groups but it is these voices that are worth noting. Quotations from speakers ! all the way up to officials in the US government are placed in this forum and it is a prime demonstration of what needs to be combatted in this country. I feel that now that I have been exposed to this information I may be able to do something about it.


Ryan Zeman

After watching the movie, I found several interesting topics.  First of all I thought that the movie started out very slow and boring.  It seemed like we were following the normal life of a young African American male.  We watched as he worked, communicated with friends and family, and tried to take care of his kid.  He lived in a predominately black society with very few other races, and almost no whites at all.  One thing that struck me as intriguing was the fact that all of the police were white and the other people were not.  It showed in the end that the members of the society had no respect for the cops, which seems to be realistic.  How do expect them to show any type of respect to the police?  It really upset me in the end when the white cop killed Radio Raheim.  That was completely uncalled for and very disappointing.  I also think that the fight should not have even happened.  They should have let Sal run his pizzeria the way he wanted to, its not like they had to eat there, but since they did they should have had at least a little respect for his restaurant.  Its not like Sal was refusing to serve them.  Another issue that disturbed me was how Sal’s oldest son got so angry when his little brother was hanging out with Mooky.  He is able to hang out with whomever he wants no matter the color or race.  Racism was a major topic in this film and it was portrayed in a believable manner.  I have been to the inner city several times and saw fights just because of color.  I personally do not understand why this happens so often, if people accepted others without looking specifically at the color of their skin the world would be a peaceful place.  Its just that we get caught up so much in color and make automatic judgments about them.  In the Bible it says do not judge others, but love your neighbor as yourself, we really need to take this into consideration.


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