Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.
For generations now, racial inequality has been at the forefront of the American conscience, and the recent surge of protests and calls for legislative action has led to a subsequent spike in people seeking out resources and stories that address the issues of race in America.
Personally, I’m trying to make it a priority to seek out the works of Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, two titans of American literature. Morrison is most renowned for her novels Beloved and The Bluest Eye, while Baldwin’s most renowned works include Go Tell it on The Mountain, Notes of a Native Son and If Beale Street Could Talk, which Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins adapted into a film.
Toni Morrison discussing “Beloved”
In addition to the works of Barry Jenkins, there are a number of films that offer solid options for people looking to explore the topics of police brutality and racial inequity. Warner Brothers is offering its film, Just Mercy, for free across rental services throughout the month of June. Just Mercy is a real-life legal drama about a black man’s journey to clear his name of a wrongful conviction. Viewers looking to delve into the topic of police shootings can seek out Blindspotting, which is now streaming on HBO and on Hulu, or Fruitvale Station, which is available to rent. Additionally, Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th, which focuses on mass incarceration and racial injustice in America, is now streaming on Netflix.
Toni Morrison on the Rodney King Riots in 1992
No one book or movie can fully educate us on a subject as complex and historical as racial inequality in America, but each of them can help open our eyes to different facets of intolerance and inequity, so feel free to dive in and continue learning. I know I will be.
I’m Evan Rook.