Essay on Do The Right Thing Directed By Spike Lee

Essay on Do The Right Thing Directed By Spike Lee

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“Do the Right Thing” is a film directed by Spike Lee, which was released in 1989. The film takes place in a small predominately African-American neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. The protagonist of the film named Mookie works in a pizzeria located in his neighborhood named, Sal’s Famous Pizzeria. Throughout the film, we see different characters who visit Sal’s pizzeria, including Buggin ' Out, who is a neighborhood local who feels offended when he sees the lack of diversity on the pizzerias wall; which only displays famous Italian-Americans. The lack of African-American culture in the neighborhood leads to a building up of tensions, which eventually explodes into a fight between the owner of the pizzeria Sal, his two sons and the locals. This fight also results in the death of another local named Radio, who was there to protest the infamous wall, along with Buggin’ Out and another character named Smiley. In this essay, I will analyze the film based on the racial tensions of that time period, along with analyzing a primary and secondary source in order to explain the significance behind Radio’s death and the destruction of Sal’s Famous Pizzeria.
Following the death of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, the African-American community began do discard nonviolent solutions regarding racial tensions and attitudes. The secondary source Historical Background section describes how, “African-American voices had grown in intensity, including those that asserted black pride and called for black control of the black community” (pg.183). Following the incident of Howard Beach in 1986, where “… a young black man was killed as a result of a confrontation with Italian-American youths” (pg.183). There were multiple riots which ended in violence...


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... police department and its citizens, showing that there was still distrust in the justice system, a distrust that is also portrayed in the film. Both the death of Radio and Mookie’s actions were symbolic because it tied a series of conflicts and ideas together. These ideas consisted of not only the boiling point of racial tensions within our country and police brutality, but also the decisions the African-American community had to take regarding doing the right thing.
Do the Right Thing was a very controversial yet informative film regarding the spike in racial tensions during the 1980s. Spike Lee did a great job not only portraying this racial tension by creating a specific set of characters but also by creating a situation where this could all be portrayed in a days’ time. With the help of both primary and secondary sources, I was able to analyze the film and

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