10 Movies to Watch To Educate Yourself On Systematic Racism

In light of current events circling George Floyd’s death, the need to promote racial injustices and police brutality is never needed more than now. With America in civil unrest over the continued killings by police, many people have opened their eyes to realize the harsh truth Black people face with racism and police every day. As we continue to fight for racial injustices and acts of violence, here are 10 movies you can watch to educate yourself on systematic racism.

13th (2016), directed by Ava DuVernay


Where to watch: Netflix and YouTube

The documentary named after the 13th amendment that abolished slavery details the history of the prison system that began from slavery to today’s mass incarceration of Black people in America. The documentary follows the history but also calls for social reform against police brutality and the need for change.

Do The Right Thing (1989), directed by Spike Lee


Where to watch: Amazon Prime and YouTube

The movie is set on the hottest day of the year in Brooklyn when the death of Radio Raheem by cops builds tension and civil unrest in the city. Although the film has a comedic undertone, the premise of the film is based on the reactions of yet another death of a black man in the community. The movie’s central conflict is still relevant today, which focuses on the contrasts of protest of public destruction rather than the focus of loss of life.

Get Out (2018), directed by Jordan Peele


Where to watch: Amazon Prime or YouTube

The highly anticipated film sparked viewers’ interest as the plot was intended to be a horror film spotlighting the racial issues in America. Get Out follows the story of a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. Throughout the film, Peele gives historical hints and clues to get audiences thinking that there’s more that meets the eye. The ending takes a dark twist that viewers weren’t expecting but not too shocking in the realm of white supremacy.

Fruitvale Station (2013), directed by Ryan Coogler


Where to watch: Amazon Prime and YouTube

This film follows the true story of the death of Oscar Grant in 2009 who was fatally shot by a police officer named in Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California. Viewers watch the movie as it’s seen through Grant’s eyes on his last day on New Year’s Eve. The film is still relevant today as his death was in light of stereotypes and racism within the police force.

Malcolm X (1992), directed by Spike Lee


Where to watch:  Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube

The biographical film details the life of civil rights activist, Malcolm X as it depicts the hardships faced while fighting racism during the civil rights movement. The movie focuses on controversies of the time, his early career, incarceration, and eventually his untimely assassination. The debate between nonviolent acts and violent acts of protest are still being discussed today.

When They See Us (2019), directed Ava DuVernay


Where to watch: Netflix

The gut-wrenching limited movie series tells the true story of the Central Park 5, who were 5 black teens falsely accused of attacking a white woman in Central Park in 1989. The story follows all 5 boys lives through the traumatic experience as they fear for their lives and fight to get exonerated as the case was based largely on racism and coercion. Nothing holds more true today than the numerous cases of falsely accused Black Men.

I Am Not Your Negro(2016), directed by Raoul Peck


Where to watch: Amazon Prime

The documentary which is based on James Baldwin’s unreleased manuscript details the trials and tribulations of monumental figures during the civil rights movement that they faced. The film is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and explores the history of racism through the eyes of our most notorious activists.

The Hate U Give (2018), directed by George Tillman


Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube

The film which is based on the novel with the same name by Angie Thomas, depicted the life of Starr Carter, a high schooler who witnesses the murder of her childhood friend by police. The story details the outrage following the event and the pressure of Starr to use her voice and speak up against the controversial topic.

BlacKKKlansman (2018), directed by Spike Lee


Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube

The film focuses on the true life of Ron Stallworth, who becomes the first African-American detective to work in the Colorado Springs Police Department in the 1970s. He becomes the first Black man to infiltrate and expose the Klu Klux Klan. During the film, Lee makes sure to depict historical events such as speeches, protest, and activists who contributed to the fight of racism.

American Son (2019), directed by Kenny Leon


Where to watch: Netflix

The movie tells the story of an estranged mixed race couple that reunited in a police station in search of their missing son. The film allows different variations viewpoints of this scenario, as it tackles the thought process of the black mother, and white father as they try to discover the reason behind their sons disappearance while the racist cop appears to be no help, and only adds to the headed discussion.

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