Five films on racism that you should watch right now

Here are five films to help you develop an understanding of racism and racial violence

Entertainment Desk June 08, 2020

The perceived superiority of one race over another, despite all contrary scientific evidence, has caused a lot of bloodshed and suffering over the centuries. Racism enabled slavery and Nazism, and it is a monster that rears his ugly head even in the 21st century, almost on a daily basis.

Take, for instance, the killing of George Floyd in the US last week - just another act of racism in which a white cop used his power to bully a black man and ended up killing him for a petty crime the “suspect” may not even have committed. The incident has caused protests that have turned violent in many places. They have made George Floyd’s death overtake the global coronavirus pandemic as the biggest story in the last few days.

A deep understanding of racism and racial violence is thus need of the hour. To help with that, here are five films on racism, as compiled from The Indian Express, which everyone should watch ASAP.

‘Get Out’

This is a genre film and yet, has an incredibly nuanced understanding as to why racism has endured for so long and thrived. It is the complicity of the white liberals who are no less racist than their more outspoken counterparts. More than a horror film, this Jordan Peele directional can be better characterised as an unsettling film. It is its own genre.

Get Out takes a dig at the casual racism that is prevalent in the American society (“I wish I had well-developed muscles like you African-Americans” and the like) and crafts a thought-provoking, yet entertaining, tale around a black man whose white girlfriend takes him to meet her parents and, as tabloid websites are fond of saying, you won’t believe what happened next.


If “social comedy” were a genre, Spike Lee would be its pioneer. His BlacKkKlansman is a film in which social commentary blends seamlessly with caustic humour. It is set in the 1970s, based on the true story of an African-American police detective who goes undercover in order to infiltrate far-right white supremacist organisation Ku Klux Klan by posing as the Grand Wizard David Duke. Lee, known for regularly confronting subjects like racism, poverty, and other political issues, uses lots of humour to drive home his arguments this time.

‘12 Years a Slave’

12 Years a Slave is Steve McQueen’s heart-wrenching adaptation of a memoir of a black slave Solomon Northup. Chiwetel Ejiofor essayed the lead role in the film, which also starred Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt and Alfre Woodard. The film was a brutal depiction of slavery and is a hard one to watch.


The movie that made Ava DuVernay a globally respected film-maker, Selma is about the Selma to Montgomery marches that were held in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 and led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — which prohibits racial discrimination in voting. David Oyelowo was spectacular to watch as Martin Luther King, the iconic, Mahatma Gandhi-inspired civil rights activist.

‘Malcolm X’

Whether or not you agree with Malcolm X’s methods, it is vital to study the man who was one of the front-runners of the US Civil Rights Movement. It is generally understood that while Martin Luther King was inspired by Gandhi and believed social development was possible through non-violent means, he was not averse to picking up arms. Denzel Washington was absolutely mesmerising in the role.

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