Books and Movies Reviews

Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thin

Spike Lee’s representation of the severed relations between the racial groups that co-exist in the community of Bed Sty throws the question of “what is the right thing to do” and also “is there such thing as truth,” right into our faces forcing us to grapple with them. With the presentation of opposing tactics of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “non-violence,” and Malcolm X’s “violence in self-defense is intelligence” one must wonder, can the two ideals contribute simultaneously in the struggle toward the same goal of achieving mutual understanding without annihilating each other in the process? Lee sees this violence as the only means necessary in making everyone painfully aware of the injustices racism causes, picking up the battle where the peaceful means of attempting to understand one another fizzles out. However this violence is a result of the rigid interpretation of preconceived assumptions of a racial group without consideration to the individuals distinct identity.
This community exists not on the basis of true understanding of each other but parallels the concept found in Bellow’s story of a flexible societal structure. Everyone present in that community finds a way to tolerate each other in order to perpetuate their own survival. Sal sells his pizza to make money, and is pleasant enough to the community to ensure he’ll have a good day in profits. The Korean grocers run their business in the same manner as well. Mookie and Vito start to break down the racial walls that are strongly held up by the community’s perception, because their situation has placed them in a position where rigid adherence to stereotypes of the other group doesn’t benefit the common purpose of the job at hand.
Buggin’ Out and Pino are characters who adhere to the rigid representational structure and define their identity by their ethnicity alone rather than a combination of their culture and their personality. These two characters are instigators who dem…

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