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Fight the Power

In: Film and Music

Submitted By jessicaibarra929
Words 740
Pages 3
Jessica Ibarra
Professor Michael A. Behrens
CINE 102
2 December 2013
Fight the Power Do the Right Thing directed by Spike Lee is a film centered on a series of subplots rather than one main plot. The characters each have their own narrative and helps give the movie substance. Although the conflict did not reveal itself until the movie nears the end, the personalities of the characters became evident through their use of language and body language. The attitudes of the characters became clear, as well as their actions which became almost predictable; what was not predictable was the sudden change of energy during the inciting incidence. When the riot occurs, we wonder how it built up to that particular scene. The characters and their background stories give rise to this ultimate turn of events. Though the characters’ random scenes were jumbled together throughout the whole movie, they were unified in the end when all the characters were involved during the inciting incidence—when the police officer killed Radio Raheem. With the death of Radio Raheem and an increasing rise to racial injustice, Spike Lee demonstrates a symbolic truth between polar opposites and its limitations to tolerance. In an article titled “Do the Right Thing” written by Hal Hinson, he argues, “Lee is attempting to explore the polarities of the inner city…by setting up a system of opposites -- black and white, love and hate, conciliation and violence, man and woman -- then sets them against each other.” This funky movie clearly states its purpose of setting an example of a multilayered community and the drawbacks it faces for social forbearance. The figurative meaning behind Radio Raheem’s character appears to be somewhat counterproductive because although his brass knuckles say “love” and “hate,” it became a metaphor towards the end of the movie when he chooses hate instead of love. An article titled, “An Insightful Look into the Character of Radio Raheem” written by a user at Engaging Cinema at Tech, states “Since [Radio Raheem] is meant to be the most menacing character in the film—an attribute assisted by the cameras always looking up at him—one would not expect for him to have such an outlook on life.” If he were to end the situation peacefully in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, the viewer cannot help but question what difference the outcome would take, positive or negative. If Lee decided to show the side of love in Sal’s pizza parlor instead of hate, we have to question if tolerance or ignorance would take place. The fight for power simply became more desirable than the fight for peace; to make a stand meant more to Radio Raheem and Buggin Out than to receive no acknowledgement and to be ignored. In an article titled “Spike Lee Inflames the Critics with a Film He Swears is the Right Thing” by James S. Kunen, he states that Lee explains, "’The critics are focusing on the burning of the pizzeria, and nobody ever mentions the death of Radio Raheem because to them Sal's property is more important than another death of a young black kid, another black 'hoodlum.'" The truth that shows no moral support towards the African American culture reveals how the critics, who were interestingly Caucasian, do not identify with Radio Raheem and Buggin Out, which, in turn, applies to a multitude of the general audience that were evidently Caucasian. Only white viewers questioned the turnout of this controversial movie and it shows their ignorance towards racial injustice, while black viewers believed that man alone should instinctively be valued more than property. Lee’s message has been made clear to the viewers that Do the Right Thing is an outlook of both sides of different races, to empathize with those put aside or to praise the privileged—to choose love or to choose hate.

Works Cited

"An Insightful Look into the Character of Radio Raheem | Engaging Cinema at Tech."Engaging Cinema at Tech. Word Press, 07 July 2011. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .

Hinson, Hal. "'Do the Right Thing'" Washington Post. The Washington Post Company, 30 June 1989. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .

Kunen, James S. "Spike Lee Inflames the Critics with a Film He Swears Is the Right Thing." : People Magazine, 10 July 1989. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. .

"Symbolism in Do the Right Thing." Symbolism in Do the Right Thing. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. .

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