Before I start, I just want to say, I hope this post does not come across as jumping on a bandwagon. As a person with white privilege I am very aware I am beyond unqualified to talk about race. But I believe very strongly that it is our responsibility to better educate ourselves and others so that we can work towards a truly equal society.
It can be hard to know where to start, as there are so many documentaries, books, films, articles, podcasts etc. that talk about racism. So I thought I would share three films that had a significant impact on my understanding of racism. I hope by sharing these, they may help you to get a better understanding too.
The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give has probably had the biggest impact on me than any other film I’ve ever watched. It depicts modern day America, and follows a teenage black girl called Starr who lives between two worlds, the black neighbourhood she lives in, and the white school she goes to. Her whole world is changed, when she witnesses her friend be wrongfully murdered by a white police officer.
This film will educate you on many things, the extent of racial inequality in the U.S. and it’s police force, the absurd things that are normal for black people such as teaching their children how to act if they get pulled over by a policeman, and how white people can be racist, even when they think they are not. I honestly believe this film should be watched by everyone, it is incredibly moving and eye-opening and really reflects what is happening now.
The photo at the top of this article is actually from The Hate U Give, looks a lot like the news from the U.S. right now doesn’t it.
Hidden Figures takes us back to the 60’s and follows three black women who work at NASA. One of the women Katherine, is assigned to work in the all white male team who were responsible for calculating the launch of the U.S.’s first piloted spacecraft. It highlights the racism she faced every day at work. Being mistaken for a cleaner, restricted access to essential information, not being allowed to use the same coffee pot and segregated bathrooms, being just a few examples that were social norms in the 60’s.
The scene where she has to inform her colleagues that the reason she disappears for 40 mins everyday, is because she has to run half a mile to get to the nearest ‘coloured’ bathroom, is heartbreaking. It is crazy to think this was the world my grandparents grew up in, just 60 years ago.
Selma portrays a significant event in black history, when Martin Luther King Jr. lead a campaign to secure equal voting rights for black people. Before watching this film I had no idea that as late as the 60’s, not all black people had the right to vote. This film exposes the sheer brutality that these peaceful protests received, something that we’ve recently seen still happens today.
An important part of educating yourself about racial inequality is to look at the history, only then can you begin to understand the depths of the injustice. This film really highlights the extreme opposition that many people had towards equal rights, and the danger activists were faced with.
So those are three films, that have educated me on racial inequality. There are so many more out there, some better than others, but these are the three that really had an impact on me.
I leave you with a quote from Hidden Figures.
“Let me ask you, if you were a white male, would you wish to be an engineer?”
“I wouldn’t have to. I’d already be one.”