Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing” takes a closer look at racial tensions that occurred on a hot summer day in Brooklyn during the 1980s. In my opinion, it is one of his best films because it reflects the impact that race continues to have in America today.
One specific scene in the film that caught my attention was when Radio Raheem blasted his radio while walking down the street and had to stop at the convenience store to get a pair of batteries. While in the store, he explained to the Korean store owner that he wanted a specific type of batteries. Therefore, Radio Raheem got upset and started yelling at the store owner for misunderstanding him. America tends to label the black man as being angry and a threat.
However, black men have never been treated fairly in this country and when they speak up they are called crazy. Unfortunately, we allow ourselves to become a product of our environment when it does not have to be that way. The Radio Raheem character is only responding to the environment surrounded around him. Nobody really knows the backstory of his upbringing and it becomes too easy to assume that he is the problem. People have to understand that you have to first address the root cause of the problem before you can solve it.
Another famous scene that stood out to me was when Spike Lee and other characters in the film blatantly expressed stereotypes among other ethnicities. Many people might consider it to be a joke, but it perpetuates stereotypes and more hate among each other. Stereotypes are dumb and people should do a better job of thinking about what they say before it comes out of their mouth. Unfortunately, when you say something especially on social media today, it becomes difficult to take back what you say. Words can create peace or start wars.
We need to understand that stereotypes represent a false generalization towards a group of people. People say certain things that might not be harmful, but it could have long-term negative effects on your subconscious mind. Even though we may be different in a lot of ways, we also share similar characteristics and it is important for us to respect that.
As a society, we are conditioned to hate one another because of skin color or our belief system. No two people are alike in this world. One problem that I have is that the media tends to promote negative messages about a group of people and the general public believes everything they are told. The only way to break down racial stereotypes is to have open dialogue among other groups of people that are different from us. Education is the key to learning about the way other cultures operate. Gaining an understanding of other cultures also helps us to know how they feel towards certain issues important to them.
People should not rely on Hollywood to portray positive images about black, Hispanic or Asian people. It is our responsibility to create and control our own images that we want on screen. The difference between black people and other ethnicities is that other ethnicities, especially the Asian community, work together and do not need recognition from Hollywood. They are interdependent and utilize their own resources to accomplish their goals.
Younger generations need to see films like “Do The Right Thing” because it shows them an accurate representation that racism remains alive and well in 2016. The only way we can overcome racial discrimination is to unite and educate others about their true history like other ethnic groups that came to this country for a better life such as the Asians, Hispanics, and Italians.