The phrase “being at a bad place at a bad time” often becomes a reality for some people. Especially, when you are young and desiring to explore your youthfulness. When They See Us is a series that captures the injustices of the criminal justice system. The Exonerated 5 Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, black teenage boys, with other black teenage boys were accused of “gang” raping a female victim in Central Park (NYC). At the beginning of the case, Korey Wise was never a suspect. He had just happened to be with his friend Yusef Salaam to support him with the situation that recently transpired. The police took him in anyway without probable cause. It was unethical due to prosecutors taking in a teenage who was never a suspect. In Korey’s scene prosecutors manipulated him into confessing to a lie about events that occurred that night- saying if he said it, he could go home from being questioned. Due to the lack of evidence the prosecutors had, they began questioning the boys without their knowing of the right to stay quiet until their parent came and physical, mental, verbal assault. Conditions were unbearable considering these men are guilty and still in jail. Not only was he beat by the inmates, but the officers as well. Power was demonstrated forcefully by the DAs. I often wondered if those sorts of disagreements happened and were allowed in jails. The discriminatory acts of roughing the teenagers up and names like “animals” “gang bangers” were crucial to this case. It explored the various steps of injustices many black and brown people suffer daily. The treatment of the Caucasian DAs upon Korey Wise presented an obvious bias between the cop and himself. The cops viewed him as the “othering”. As if he was out of place for being there in the beginning, and his identity played a vital role. There was constant a master-slave dialect that the DAs desired to pursue. The officials knew they had the authority and aspired to abuse it. Using language and words officials knew the teenager was not familiar with to intimidate him and receive information to build a case. The author wanted the readers to be challenged and inspired in the world, I believe. A lot of times we get caught up in our own lives and forget that there are other real-world experiences occurring where black and brown people are being wrongfully convicted at high rates. It vividly sheds light on the work that still awaits to be accomplished in regard to the judicial system and their approaches to similar positions.
They are born with a genetic mutation that makes them different from the ‘average’ person, and they are hated and feared by everyone because of their differences. All of them are known as the minority, which leads to them facing social injustices. Being called the “mutants” because they are different brings on the fact that they are seen as an “other” to society because they don’t fit in with how everyone else is. They are also treated as an ‘other’ because they aren’t in a position of power even with the abilities; they are an anomaly. They fight to protect the same people that don’t want anything to do with them.
The theme of racial injustice is the most prevalent social issues intertwined in the X-Men series and can be seen in the range of mutant powers, and mutant discrimination. The film’s purpose is to give the importance of the need to fight for peace and equality among people, and it is shown by showing the hardships of what is known to be the minority race. The film deals with a few critical components of American history, one being the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In class, we read King’s Letter from Birmingham, which talked about how people need to take action against the unjust laws and discrimination and not wait to have justice play in your plate.
I think the film X-Men did successfully inspire a conversation around power and injustice. The film displays who is known to be the “other” and the people that are in control. The film is based during a time of systematic persecution, which at the time many African Americans were going through. I feel Stan Lee wants us to know that racism should never be okay, and if you see something happening, you should call it out. I think he wants people to ask themself; what you would do if it were you in the same predicament?
References: “How Stan Lee’s X-Men Were Inspired by Real-Life Civil Rights Heroes.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, www.history.com/.amp/news/stan-lee-x-men-civil-rights-inspiration.
“The Racial Politics of X-Men.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 5 June 2011, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/between-the-lines/201106/the-racial-politics-x-men?amp.
When choosing a topic for this assignment, I knew right away what I was going to choose. The movie “The Hate U Give” is a great movie to choose to talk about for this assignment. This movie was made in 2018 and demonstrated injustice, identity, and power. This movie is about a 16-year-old African American girl named Starr who is constantly going back and forth between two worlds which are the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy, mostly white prep school that she attends. But one night, she witnesses a fatal shooting of her childhood friend at the hands of a white police officer that changes her life forever. Starr goes through this traumatic event and tries to fight for justice for her best friend Khili. At the end of the movie, she ends up telling the world what happened and that he deserved to live even though the white officer got away with it. She is faced with the pressure from both sides of the community when trying to find her voice and to stand up for what’s right.
Throughout this movie, Starr struggles with finding her identity because of the mostly white prep school that she attends. She explains that she has to watch how she talks because she doesn’t want to come off as “ghetto” in a majority rich white school. She comes face to face with one of her white friend’s reactions and racist comments that she says about how she felt bad for the police officer, when he was in the wrong. This movie also demonstrates white privilege because the officer got away with the murder of Khalil due to being white. In one scene, Starr has a conversation with her uncle who is an officer. She asks him if Khalil was a white male, would he have told him to put his hands up or shot him right away when seeing him reach into the car and he said that he would have asked him to put his hands up because white males are less threatening then African Americans. He explains that this is why the officer shot first and asked questions later all because he was an African American male. This not only demonstrates power but also injustice. This movie is nothing but white privilege and injustice to the point that every scene would be a great example. This movie portrays Starr and Khalil as this “otherness” that De Beauvoir explains in this text. A great example of otherness in this movie is when Starr goes to school. She explains that she is treated differently than everyone else because she is black. They try to “act black” and she explains that she has to watch the way she acts and talks to not be considered ghetto. She explains at the beginning that she has to be two completely different people when it comes to school and at home. Her father also treats her white boyfriend Chris like this “other” when Starr brings him home to meet her father. This movie is a great example of everything that we have been learning in this class and I recommend seeing it because it is a great movie especially for this class. I think this director wanted the audience to take away from this movie that there is still racial injustice going on to this day due to someone’s color of skin and that we need to speak up to end racial discrimination and injustice.