5 films to watch about racial injustice in America and around the world

“Selma” is a drama based on Martin Luther King Jr.'s voting rights marches, starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, and Tim Roth. Credit: BajoGames (CC BY 2.0).

For people who want to better understand the history of racial injustice in America and around the world, film critic Shawn Edwards has compiled a list of films that speak to the black experience. He’s co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association. 

Do the Right Thing

“The film was actually dedicated to six victims of police brutality and racial violence back in 1989. This tragic confrontation between black residents and the police has been going on for a really long time. And this film does an excellent job of examining the breaking point.”

Selma

“The civil rights movement just wasn't a primarily black movement. There were blacks involved. There were whites involved. There were Jewish people involved in that. That just sent out a whole different signifier. And this film does a great job of capturing that and examining that.”

Battle of Algiers

“It's about the war between Algiers and France. It's significant because it shows the tactics used in urban guerrilla warfare. It almost feels too real. In 2003, the United States government, particularly the Pentagon, screened this film to show examples of how to deal with the Occupy forces in Iraq.”

The Hate U Give

“The lead character, Star, is dealing with what a lot of African Americans deal with every single day ... having a double life. She's one person when she's at this private prep school. And she's another person when she has to go home and deal with gang violence and drug abuse, and try to survive in both these worlds and be relevant in both worlds and function in both worlds, which is what a lot of African Americans have to do.”

I Am Not Your Negro

“Conclude with ‘I Am Not Your Negro.’ That's the ultimate crash course on racism 101 as it exists in the United States. It is a little abrasive at times, but all medicine doesn't taste good.”

Credits

Guest:
Shawn Edwards - award-winning film critic for FOX-TV in Kansas City, co-founder of the African American Film Critics Association

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes