New “Detroit” movie commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1967 12th Street Riot. The film highlights the events that occurred on July 25, at the Algiers Motel in Detroit, Michigan, during the racially charged riot. It involves the death of three black men and the beatings of nine other people including two Caucasian women. The movie reminds Black America how far we have NOT come.
Police brutality, fueled largely by racism, continues to plague the streets of many African-American neighborhoods. It does not help the “cause” of equality to continue to act as if racism has “faded to black.” Racism is alive and well in these United States called America. It does not do any good to pretend it has evaporated into the fibers of history.
Although racism has progressed forward from half a century ago, irrational racist bias still speaks out in the likes of police brutality. Yes, laws have moved towards equality, but it seems the nation has taken a great leap backward in efforts to mirror historic racism. The movie “Detroit” eerily mirrors the streets of Ferguson after the death of Freddie Gray. It is a reminder of how far we have NOT come.
“Detroit” is a morally unsettling and harrowing story about the police and black America. It captures, without question, the horror, sick dread, rage and fear of what it is to experience violent brutes and racist bullies masquerading as law enforcement. Unfortunately, this reality has become a constant companion of the black experience that too many others seek to ignore.
America was angered by the Black Lives Matter movement but celebrated the Blue Lives Matter response. No one seemed concerned that much of Black America sees the red, white, and blue flag differently than other privileged citizens. While the flag stands for justice to some, others see red as the blood of unarmed black men covering the streets, white as privileged Americans who stand in judgment and blue as the color of their community’s aggressors in the form of police brutality. The spectacular flag’s design, complete with the 13 colonies, symbolizes an America that had finally come together as a country while the “Star-Spangled Banner” is indicative of lives changed for eternity. Neither of these is reflected in the black American experience.
“Detroit” is a painful reminder of the country’s current state. This aide-mémoire should explain why the recent comments made by the current leader of the United States encouraging police brutality cannot be reduced to a joke. For those who live this reality, the movie describes black America but is undoubtedly a movie for white America.
Director Kathryn Bigelow brilliantly recreated the tragic events that occurred at Algiers Motel on Sunday, July 23, 1967. She crossed over the boundaries of her own experience and entered the lives of these victims. While some criticized her for taking on such a huge task, others have praised Bigelow for her courageous and empathetic work. “Detroit” is a painstaking but necessary movie that reminds Black America how far we have NOT come.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Variety: Should White Filmmakers Be Telling the Story of ‘Detroit’?
Guardian Liberty Voice: Racism Exists…Just Say You Don’t Care!
Top Image Courtesy of Mike Boening Photography’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Ninian Reid’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Bryan Rosengrant’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License