8 Films to Understand Structural Racism

Do you know what structural racism is? Well, we call structural racism the entire set of statements, situations and habits inserted in our customs and culture, rooted in a historical structure, which sees black skin as a negative trait, a distorted vision conceived by outdated beliefs and, often, supported by law. That's right: by law.

Structural Racism and the Theme of “Blood Detachment”

Structural racism is the cornerstone of the theme covered by all the titles I will present here: institutional racism. In other words, racial marginalization committed by the State. History demonstrates that the State has always done the minimum to prioritize those of black origin, whether consciously or unconsciously, preferring to follow the path of necropolitics, a concept developed by the black philosopher Achille Mbembe.

To address these questions, Spike Lee, in “Blood Detachment,” follows four former Vietnam War soldiers in search of gold and the remains of their former commander, exploring not only the ghosts of the past, but also the current reality of society.

“Brotherhood”: Between Justice and Provisional Prison

Irmandade, a Brazilian series, delves into the Brazilian prison system, where 41.5% of prisoners are in provisional regime and 65% are of black origin. The plot follows lawyer Cristina, who is forced to infiltrate a criminal faction to save her brother, questioning the concept of “Justice.”

Injustice and Redemption in “Eyes that Condemn”

How is it possible to convict innocent young people? “Eyes That Condemn” is based on a real case from 1989, showing how the United States prison and police system committed one of the greatest recent injustices. The series questions the combination of incompetence, neglect and racism.

The 13th Amendment and the Correlation with Slavery

The documentary series “The 13th Amendment,” directed by Ava DuVernay, explores the correlation between the US prison system and the perpetuation of slavery through the state. Scholars, activists and politicians debate how the criminalization of the black population contributes to prison overcrowding.

Malcolm X: A Historical and Activist Figure

Malcolm X, activist and historical figure, is essential to understanding structural racism. The documentary addresses his ideals, his assassination in 1965 and possible links with the FBI.

“The Life and Story of Madam CJ Walker”

Madam CJ Walker, the first black millionaire in the USA, is portrayed in a series that highlights her fight against racism, sexism and colorism while building an empire in the world of beauty and cosmetics.

“Happiness Hanging by a Thread”: Self-Esteem and Aesthetic Standards

“Happiness by a Thread” addresses the aesthetic standards imposed by the media, affecting the self-esteem of black women. The protagonist, Violet Jones, deals with hair issues and social pressure on beauty.

Sam Cooke: Soul Music Legend and Activist

Finally, the documentary about Sam Cooke, considered the founder of soul music, explores his life, tragic death and his fight for civil rights, showing that even recognition and talent did not prevent racial violence.

I hope these delicate and serious titles help you understand the injustices and violence that black people face on a daily basis. We must challenge, confront and question the injustices and mistakes committed by society and the State. As activist Angela Davis said, “in a racist society, it is not enough to not be racist, it is necessary to be anti-racist!”

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