List of compelling films to watch to educate yourself about systemic racism

Saturday, June 6, 2020
How films about race are needed now more than ever
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Here's how one media studies expert explained the need for memorable movies about race during these tense times.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Protests over the death of George Floyd continue to push conversations about race and injustice in America.

As more people claim alliance, black social justice leaders and scholars say it is critical for people wanting to make change to educate themselves about systemic racism.

Books and conversation are a great way to start, but movies and documentaries open windows to the challenges facing Black Americans.

"When we think about the need for watching film and television, I always tell people to enter into the space slowly because when we think about the history of television and film, many people watch movies to get away from everyday life, and they do not necessarily think of it as the first tool for education," said founding fellow at The Center for Critical Race Studies at UHD Dr. Creshema Murray.

In 2018, she published her first book, "Leadership Through The Lens: Interrogating Production, Presentation, and Power." It explores how we learn about power and injustices through TV and film.

"Television and film is a way for us to disconnect from what's happening in the real world but it's also a tool for us to understand," she said.

Movies like 13th, When They See Us, and Crash offer teaching moments about racial injustice in America.

"With Crash, we see the slight inequities that we experience every single day with these major instances of systematic racism. And so, it doesn't hit the watcher over the head instantly, it's more so a subtle way to show how we deal with issues of racism every day," Murray said.

She urges people serious about affecting change to think critically about the lesson taught in films like these.

"As uncomfortable as these topics may be, and as uncomfortable as it might be to see someone being murdered on film or to see someone in an unfair situation," Murray said. "It's needed for everyone, especially when we think about allyship, to understand what's happening in America, what's happening around the world, and how you can be an advocate as an ally for a change in our system."

Films to watch:

  • "Crash"
  • "13th"
  • "When They See Us"
  • "Whose Streets"
  • "Teach Us All"
  • "Do The Right Thing"
  • "Fruitvale Station"
  • "12 Years A Slave "
  • "I Am Not Your Negro"
  • "Fences"
  • "Selma"

SEE ALSO: How you can support black-owned businesses in Houston

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