Slavery, segregation, police brutality and incarceration. This is the story of black Americans’ battle to attain the same freedom as whites in a country that has been systematically against them since their ancestors were kidnapped off the shores of Africa.
Available on Netflix, “13th” is a documentary by Ava DuVernay, director of Martin Luther King drama “Selma.” As one may assume, the film is centered around the 13th amendment, but rather than commending it, various interviewees throughout the film point out that slavery has never really been abolished.
The film talks about the different forms of slavery and exposes the underlying motives of the Jim Crow laws, controversial films like “Birth of a Nation,” Nixon’s so-called “war on drugs” and the disproportionate imprisonment of black people since the 13th amendment.
There’s no question why this film received an Academy Award nomination. “13th” does its job quite well in terms of being a documentary. It is chock-full of information and different perspectives regarding the issue of the segregation and criminalization of African Americans throughout U.S. history.
What really set this film apart was its real-life connections to today. It discussed tragic cases like Trayvon Martin’s, the realities of the infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and even the campaign tactics of both Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump.
One of the most chilling and memorable parts of the film is the montage of 20th century clips of white-on-black violence along with direct quotes from President Trump’s campaign rallies. How well the two fit together is quite chilling.
Overall, the film demonstrates that racism is still prominent and real in our country. While it may seem like we have achieved social justice and liberty for all, oppression has simply been transformed and covered up from the public eye.
After watching “13th,” it is apparent that as a nation, we need to recognize the racial injustice that still exists, stand up for our fellow humans and revolt against oppressors who try to convince us otherwise.
If you are unaware of the legal slavery that still exists in America right now, go watch this film on Netflix, become informed and take action.