03/28/02 (Do The Right Thing)
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.
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.
is just amazing to see how the Italian guy with all the
African American in the neighbourhood, did not like anybody to
is sad that the Pizza men loved these people with all his heart
Scott Van Eman
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.
watching the movie, I found several interesting topics.
First of all
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