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Depiction of Race Interactions in The Movie Do The Right Thing

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No one is born hating the other due to their race; they learn to do it. Spike Lee’s film “Do the right thing” is an honest film that reflects the interaction of racially different people. I found the movie honest because Lee does not give a fake picture of the issue of racism in society but rather paints the right picture of racial relations in the US. The movies take place in an African American neighborhood during a hot day. The residents in this neighborhood live in a brotherhood harmony although there are racial arguments that keep on dominating their conversation. For example, although Sal and Mookie get into an argument over the pictures of Italian-American personalities decorating his wall, they later reconcile and continue working together. The movie therefore successfully depicts how people from different races interact, how they view each other and their differences. “Do the Right Thing” successfully depicts race interaction in a community and how racial violence erupts.

Lee focuses our attention on the individuals in the black neighborhood and its distinct character. For example, Sal, who has been in that neighborhood for a long time and knows everyone even the Korean family that no one seems to know, is an Italian who gets on well with the African Americans (Lee, 1989). Sal is a serious business person who owns a Pizzeria. He is open towards the black and no signs of racism are seen on him. However, his wall is decorated using photographs of famous Italian-Americans. Buggin’ Out confronts him accusing him of being racist. In my opinion, both Sal and Buggin’ Out are justified in their reaction and behavior. On one hand, it is all-natural for Sal to be inclined more towards Italian-American celebrities who belong to his race. This does not mean that he dislikes or discriminated against black people. Buggin’ Out, on the other hand, is also justified to defend his race and to want Sal to emerge himself fully into the black culture and its people. The actions of the two characters make sense at this point. However, later actions displayed by Buggin’ Out reveal sheer hate and racism. Hence, Sal is a good example of how people of a different race are supposed to leave as neighbors and brothers.

However, the story is not completely filled with love. Lee has also introduced hate in equal measure. This makes the story more real by reflecting on how a human being behaves in a community. Hate is portrayed through Sal’s son who hates black people. He does not get along with Mookie who works for Sal as a delivery guy. It is all too logical for some members of the community to be racist and be vocal about it. This trait is witnessed even in modern society where some people openly dislike members of another race. Similarly, Buggin’ Out expresses his racial attitude by matching to Sal’s shop and threatening to close it down. The violence escalates into racial violence where Sal’s shop is destroyed. The situation in the movie is an all too familiar occurrence especially during the 1900s when the movie was set.

Therefore, ‘Do the Right Thing’ reflects the actual state in a black neighborhood and the characters effectively play out their roles to expectation. The film is photographed beautifully and acted well to depict how racial violence builds up and what motivates it. During the violence scene where racial violence escalates, the sound increases pace to increase the dramatic effect. The camera keeps on moving and rolling to capture the real time view of what the story suggests. The cinematography in the film creates the color that is suited for the drama. Spike Lee directs the film masterfully from the beginning to the end making it hard to anticipate.

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Depiction of Race Interactions in the Movie Do The Right Thing. (2020, October 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from
“Depiction of Race Interactions in the Movie Do The Right Thing.” GradesFixer, 10 Oct. 2020,
Depiction of Race Interactions in the Movie Do The Right Thing. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Jan. 2023].
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