If you only see one documentary this year, make it Ava DuVernay’s 13th.
DuVernay interviews political bigwigs like Angela Davis, Newt Gingrich, Van Jones, Cory Booker and a slew of others.
The 1 hour 40 minute Netflix exclusive gets its name from the Thirteenth Amendment:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
It abolished slavery, but catch that “criminal” bit. 13th argues that mass incarceration has replaced slavery.
You should probably watch the whole thing. But if you can’t, read these points:
- “Birth of a Nation”, the 1915 film, basically invented the Ku Klux Klan we know today.
- “Birth Of A Nation” basically destroyed black people’s image for the rest of the 20th century.
- Reconstruction southerners imprisoned black people for free labor, so black people GTFO (to cities like LA, New York, Chicago, etc.)
- Basically every presidential administration before Obama criminalized black people. They disguised racism with the “war on drugs”. For a lighthearted rundown, see this:
- Eventually, every presidential candidate had to seem “tough on crime” to win
- Obama was the first president to visit a prison while in office
- Most prisoners never see a trial because they opt for plea bargaining, even if innocent
- A 1994 law imposed mandatory minimums. Meaning once you go to prison, you’re pretty much staying there forever
- ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) consists of legislators and private business, some as high- profile as Verizon, AT&T, and Farmer’s Insurance. They are basically running the world. ALEC gets represented by a spineless lawyer in the doc. ALEC wants everyone to stay in prison.
- ALEC lobbied for the Stand Your Ground Law, which basically allows anyone to shoot anyone else if one “feels threatened”. George Zimmerman got off for shooting Trayvon Martin under this law. Also, did you know that Wal- MArt sells guns?
- Tons of businesses benefit from the prison system. They use prisoners for labor, and some businesses exist solely to provide shoddy services to inmates
- This doc came out last year, so it features a highlight reel of Trump’s Most Insensitive Comments
- Immigrants are the new black people, ie Villains
Now, do note that every documentary has an agenda. One should do one’s own research and form one’s own opinions. Dive in when you wanna get really fired up about some injustices.