6 Documentaries EVERYONE Should Watch About Equality
Adam Schwartz

Nationwide protests continue amidst the brutal deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter movement is now a just as essential and relevant resource for those both outside and in the black community.

For nonblack individuals, now is the time to donate, listen, learn, and support. One way you can achieve this by watching immersing yourself in documentaries and films on civil unrest and social injustices. The 2020 protests are nothing new, as they stem from systematic issues that can be traced back to the creation of the country.

Before making a change, it’s important to understand how we got here. There are many movies and documentaries being made that highlight this topic, but not all are insightful and strong in their message. But some have definitely made a better impact more than others. Here are 6 documentaries everyone should watch about equality.

1. 13th 

This documentary by Ava DuVernay traces the roots of the prison system back to slavery, which is legal in the United States as a form of punishment for a crime. The documentary states how the 13th has a direct impact and led to a modern manifestation of slavery, where African-Americas unfairly imprisoned for minor offenses.

Introduced as a documented survey that explores the genetic link between today's prison-industrial complex and slavery. It examines the mythology of black criminality and how political authorities have successfully taken specific measures to disempower African Americans over the past three centuries and the impact it has on modern society.

2. LA 92’ 

This documentary by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin is terrifying enough without its 2020 context. This documentary recites the story of Rodney King, and how he was mercilessly and brutally killed by police officers, and the case of Latasha Harlins, a teenager who was gunned down in a local convenience store.

Despite the shocking video evidence, the police offers were found not guilty, and how the days after were followed by riots, looting, and fires in Los Angeles. The film depicts the horrifying parallels between the 1992 unrest wit footage from the 1965 Watts riots which shocked the nation.

3. Baltimore Rising

Created by Sonja Sohn (The Wire), this documentary is on the protests and unrest in Baltimore after Freddie Gray's death due to injuries after sustaining them from violent police officers. Although the six police officers still await their verdict, the eyes of the entire nation are on Baltimore. Besides documenting crucial moments in the aftermath of Gray's death, Sohn also effectively conveys a vital idea on activism.

The documentation of these different approaches affects change at a local level. Still, Sohn doesn’t support one over another or insert an ideological struggle narrative over individual efforts. The documentary doesn’t just present a single approach to bring about a change in the societal and institutional relationship between citizens and police officers.

4. I Am Not Your Negro

This 2016 documentary film directed by Raoul Peck, is based on an unfinished manuscript Remember This House, written by James Baldwin. Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, the documentary goes in-depth on the history of racism in the United States.

It analyzes the modern black experience through the last writings of Baldwin and his correspondences with Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X. It also explores his personal observations on American history and is an insightful documentary that’s been produced very well.

5. 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets

This documentary explores what happened in the brief altercation between Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man and 17-year-old African American Jordan Davis. On Black Friday 2012, two cars were parked next to each other at a Florida gas station. Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis exchanged harsh words over the volume of the music in Davis's car. This interaction soon resulted in an altercation where Dunn fired 10 bullets at a car full of unarmed teenagers, of which 3 hit 17-year-old Davis.

Dunn then fled the scene and was arrested the following day. After his arrest, Michael Dunn claimed that he acted in self-defence, after which the long journey of understanding the actual threat vs. the perceived threat begun. 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets interweaves the night of the murder with the trial. This documentary explores the deeply rooted racial prejudices and tragedies that are widespread in America.

6. Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland

A two-year legal ordeal begun when 28-year-old Sandra Bland was arrested for a traffic violation and was then was hanging in the jail cell three days later. Kate Davis and David Heilbroner follow the family’s battle with law enforcement while sharing Sandra Bland’s video blog and history of activism. The dashcam footage went viral, which then resulted in nationwide protests.Although her death was ruled a suicide, allegations of a racially motivated attacked soon begun.

These six documentaries are gripping and relevant even today and are something you must watch if you want  to learn more about equality or inequality in the United States.

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