Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing: Movie Analysis

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“Do the Right Thing”
Course Assignment #3: Movie Night

The movie my partner and I chose was Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” Our reason for choosing this movie was that both of us have never seen a Spike Lee movie before, and I have heard a lot of good things from his movies and always wanted to watch one. I also watched the trailer and the movie seemed like it was going to be both entertaining and have a lot of racial conflict. The movie follows “Mookie” who is a young black man that lives in Brooklyn, New York. He works locally delivering pizzas for Sal’s Pizzaria. Sal is the owner of the store and seems to be a nice fair man at first, but as the movie progresses it can be seen that he is a passive racist, he didn’t really say anything when his son was making racist comments and he also felt like he was more powerful then the black people but was not actively racist about it. Sal was actively racist at the end though when he used the “N” word and crushed Radio Raheem’s radio, which began the whole riot at the end. I felt like Sal felt like he had white supremacy, because he as a white male felt more superior then all the black people that came to eat his pizza. This could be seen when he describes how he has watched all of the people in the neighborhood grow up and he felt like he was a person they all looked up to. Sal also is seen to take the path of least resistance by constantly throwing money at problems. For example when a drunk called “Da Mayor,” comes and asks for money/work he throws money at him and tells him to sweep the front as to make him stop bothering him. This is also seen when a mentally disabled man named Smiley, comes to the store. Sal gives him money to make him go away. There were two minor scenes that really stood out to me. One of the scenes was when the cops drove past the three black men known as “the Corner Men,” who were sitting on the side of the street and as the cops passed they mouthed “what a waste.” This to me shows cultural racism and it shows a cultural image that the police are superior to people of color and the police views them negatively. Another scene that stood out to me was when a white male was driving and got attacked with water by two black males. The police came instantly and the white male was angry and being verbally aggressive to the police officers, but the police officers seemed to be understanding and didn’t do anything to the white male while he was being blatantly aggressive. This shows that this white male has a privilege over African Americans. I feel like most likely if a black male was that verbally aggressive to the police officers then he would have been seen as someone dangerous and he would have been arrested. At the end of the movie, a black man is being aggressive toward a white man and as a result one of the cops puts him in a choke hold and purposely choked him to death. This shows that the white police officer has prejudice toward blacks, and has a preconceived judgment about black people.

Sal has two son’s Pino, who “detests the place like a sickness,” and acts actively racist by constantly saying racist comments and giving a hard time to the African Americans in the movie. He also makes Mookie’s life constantly miserable. Sal’s younger son Vito, is actually friends with Mookie and through out the whole movie doesn’t do or say any racist things. In fact he likes the African Americans in the neighborhood.

I feel like the most crucial part of the movie was at the end when Mookie, a black male, broke the window of the white man’s, Sal’s, store. The whole movie he seemed to be defending Sal but at the end of the day he felt Race Constancy. There was a scene where he was standing next to Sal right before the riot and he walked away from Sal and took a trash can and smashed the window because he knew that no matter what he knew that his racial group membership is fixed and will never change.

I felt like the movie also had a message...
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