Dothe Right Thing
Dothe Right Thing isa movie that depicts the lives of racially different persons whotrace their existence to a plebeian neighborhood in Brooklyn, NewYork. Spike Lee, the director of the film, accentuates the quandarythat these individuals are usually exposed to in their day to daylives by shooting all the events that take place in the movie in aday. Lee selects the hottest day in the summer to bring to the forethe troubles that the different personalities concerned go through,even during the regular days of their lives (YouTube).The concepts of race, social class, and moral decisions emergesomewhat distinctly. The decisions that the characters in the filmmake affect the events that take place in the movie profoundly. Thetitle of the film is rather easy to understand however, the settingof the film makes comprehending the underlying theme difficult. Thetopics of peace and conflict underpin the core of Dothe Right Thing.
Thefirst scene of the movie brings a Puerto Rican image to the surface.A group of Purto Rican men is seen, and the sound of salsa musicplays aloud. The extensive use of iconography in the scene promptsthe audience to develop a stereotypical image since the clothes thatthe men have worn, their facial appearance and their languageresembles that of Latin Americans (YouTube).One of the men speaks Spanish, admiring his Puerto Rican homeland.His friend, however, does not share a similar perception he callsthe region a nightmare. This portrayal signifies the peace andconflict idea that underlies the film. One of the characters feelsthat the Puerto Rican expanse is a beautiful and promising placewhile his counterpart believes that the region is nothing similar towhat his friend describes. Furthermore, the revelation that thisparticular neighborhood is different from the rest also comes tobeing. As the two friends continue with their argument, the viewerscome to the understanding that the loud, salsa music is from an oldradio. A young African American man, Radio Raheem, own a relativelynew sound system that gradually drowns the salsa music with a raptune. The camera brings the image of Raheem to accentuate thesentiments that the two friends reveal.
Thedepiction of the Puerto Rican old music system against Rahem’s newstereo shows the predicament that is inherent in the movie. Raheem’ssound system is new, and the sound that it plays is thunderous(YouTube).Lee emphasizes his point by bringing up the image of the Radio fromthe ground up. The camera moves unhurriedly and stops when the imageof the large, new personal stereo is seen. Spike proceeds tohighlight his point by revealing the large African American hands ofthe youngster Raheem has gold knuckle jewelry on his hands.Nonetheless, Lee`s fetishization comes to the fore since he onlydisplays what the young adult is wearing as opposed to also showinghis face. The camera pauses and the audience can visibly see the"Super and PRO" logo of the stereo relatively well(YouTube).This depiction reveals the economic excess that exist in theneighborhood fairly well. The jewelry and stereo that Radio iswearing bring status and economic power to the fore.
Inaddition to the above, the camera, once again, turns and showsRaheem’s stern face and the African medallion that hangs on hisneck. This image, for a second time, brings out iconography. As thecamera focuses on Radio, the sound of Puerto Ricans shouting at thetop of their voices that their music is being drowned is heard(YouTube).This disclosure makes known the disparity that exists between the twogroups. On the one hand, the Puerto Ricans are depicted as theindividuals that are in possession of the old and worn out itemswhile the African-Americans are seen as the owners of the shiny andup-to-the-minute products. The sound of the Puerto Ricans shoutingthat their music is being drowned is an indication of the manner inwhich their voice or identity is usually overshadowed by that of theBlacks or the way that the authority figures ignore their rights. Thecamera also rotates to the right, bringing green bushes that indicatea tropical climate to view. This foliage shows the link between thesoothing salsa music and Puerto Ricans relatively distinctly.
Themessage that the two music genres send also reveals the peace andconflict theme. On the one hand, salsa signifies calmness andtranquility while, on the other, rap music is connected withruggedness. As Radio Raheem listens to his music, one cannot help butsee how close he is to the Puerto Ricans (YouTube).His sound system also seems relatively new and stronger when comparedto that of the Spanish indigenes. Raheem`s desire to show hiseconomic might is symbolized fairly distinctly. Radio`s ability totune his music high, compared to the Spanish, shows the clash thatexists between the two races. While one ethnic group (Puerto Ricans)wishes to be heard, the other (African-Americans) silences it.Although the Puerto Rican man tries to adjust his radio to overwhelmRadio’s rap music, Raheem turns the knob on his radio and drownsthe Puerto Rican music once again. Upon realizing that he cannot winthe battle against Raheem, the Puerto Rican man turned down the musicon his radio and told Radio that he had won the battle. This behaviorshows that the Latin American nation prefers peace to unnecessarystruggles.
Thesecond scene comes into view after Radio Raheem is killed by thepolice after he got into a fight with Sal, an Italian American. Thisscene shows how the marginal groups become the victims ofcircumstance. After Raheem’s death, the audience comes to therealization that Radio’s death is not an accident but an everydayoccurrence (YouTube).The residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood are seen complaining aboutthe police brutality that they are continually exposed to. Onceagain, the theme of peace and conflict emerges. In the previousscene, Raheem was seen intimidating the Puerto Ricans however, inthis scene, the entire Brooklyn society is up in arms after Raheem’sdeath. Simply put, although conflict exists among the members of thecommunity, the whole neighborhood struggles to find peace. Radio’sbehavior may not have been the best, but since the police attackedhim in a manner that the society considers brutal, the public decidedto defend him. In fact, an older man exclaimed that even thoughRaheem was an intimidating individual, he was relatively young andthe police did not have to kill him. The scene also depicts thedifference between economic status and social support.
Thesecond scene shows the significance of social support as opposed toeconomic status in a, somewhat, distinct fashion. Financial status isusually associated with comfort and satisfaction while social supportis connected with the spirit of togetherness (YouTube).Sal is a wealthy and well-allied individual. Nonetheless, he has notwon the loyalty of the neighborhood or his employees. Thisrealization comes to the fore when Mookie, Sal`s employee, walks awayfrom Sal and his two sons. Also, In spite of Raheem`s unlikablecharacter, the community decided to support him. Sal`s face alsobecomes more tense, after Mookie decided to join the neighborhood inthe fight against police brutality. This portrayal, once again, makesknown the power of social support when compared with economic status.In essence, the scene shows the peace and conflict theme byhighlighting the unconventional way in which the wealthy seembewildered by the occurrences in society and the manner in which theless privileged seem collected and focused on fighting for theirrights.
Thescene also shows the way that oppression drives the peaceful, poorpeople into rage and conflict. Sal and his sons are portrayed as agroup of white, affluent individuals while the Brooklyn neighborhoodappears black. The Sal family seems like a group of people who thrivein oppressing others. The community reacts by standing for its rightsagainst the oppressors. In this case, the Blacks rose in arms againstthe White family even though Raheem was the one who was at fault(YouTube).The group, seemingly, does not recognize the mistake of their own.The rage and oppression that this group has been exposed to,apparently, blinds them from distinguishing the fault of Raheem.Before this event, the entire community co-existed peacefully, butthis occurrence led to the development of conflict, where the societybreaks into Sal`s store, smashes everything, and eventually, lootsthe store.
Ina recap of the above discussion, the film Dothe Right Thing bringsthe themes of peace and conflict to the surface in a relativelytransparent manner. The film illustrates the existence of raciallydifferent persons that trace their subsistence to a blue-collarneighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. The quandary that theseindividuals in question are exposed to, in their day to day lives, isstressed by the manner in which the director shoots all the eventsthat take place in the movie. Lee selects the hottest day in thesummer to highlight the problems that the different personalitiesthat are concerned go through these troubles appear even during theordinary days of their lives. The concepts of race, social class, andmoral decisions come out somewhat distinctly. The choices of thecharacters in the film have a profound effect on the events that takeplace. In essence, the title of the movie is somewhat easy tounderstand however, the setting of the film makes its underlyingtheme difficult to comprehend.
YouTube.DoThe Right Thing.1989. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd8F_Oyj3JE