13th A Documentary about African American Vigilance
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13th A Documentary about African American Vigilance

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13th A Documentary about African American Vigilance
Urbanintellectuals.com

Ava DuVernay's latest film "13th' has the African American community buzzing due to its in depth look at Institutionalized racism in America and how it has progressed since the ending of slavery in 1865. DuVernay highlights the many ways that racism has evolved in America from Jim Crow to Mass incarceration and even talks about how racism has been relegated to code words that have become regular political rhetoric. But to me the most jarring aspect of DuVernay's film was how it pointed out the lack of vigilance within the African American community each time that these issues are reborn into a new institution. DuVernay does give blame to the oppressors but she doesn't hold back on acknowledging the mistakes that the oppressed have made. One example would be when she mentions the Reagan Administration and the manifestation of the "War on Drugs" and how the black middle class originally welcomed the concept without actually looking into how it would later effect the black people living in poverty. Reagan's Policies caused many people, in particular people of color, to go to jail for long sentences for petty crimes such as felony possession and distribution of crack cocaine vs giving out misdemeanors for possession of powdered cocaine. This lack of vigilance has led us to where we are today in terms of mass incarceration. Today there is more awareness around mass incarceration and the problems that surround the black community and DuVernay does concede that the tide may be turning for the better. However she also ends the film by making sure that everyone is prepared to look for the next form of oppression will come next. The amount of awareness in the community will be the only way to effectively combat what may come next.

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