Do The Right Thing, Directed By Spike Lee

751 words - 3 pages

Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing (1989) portrayed an important social problem of the time period – interracial rivalry. The movie was one of many ghetto action films made during the era. In the article “Producing Ghetto Pictures” by Craig Watkins, he says that the movies of the ghetto film cycle committed much of their storyline to that of the relationship between young, poor black males and the ghetto (170).
The film depicts the lives of those who live on a city block in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York where Sal’s Famous Pizzeria is located. Racial and ethnic hatred is shown through the characters who frequent the Italian restaurant. Sal’s son, Pino, wants to move the Pizzeria into their own neighborhood away from his father’s black clientele, whom he despises. In Mark Reid’s article, “Black Comedy on the Verge of a Breakdown”, he states that Pino celebrates an ethnic-racial apartheid system in which ethnic and racial groups remain in their proper neighborhoods” (101). In response to his son’s backward request, Sal says, “So what if this is a Black neighborhood, so what if we’re a minority. I’ve never had no trouble with … [these] people. Don’t want none either, so don’t start none. This is America”. It is ironic because Pino’s favorite people are black, but he does not see them that way. It is as if he is contradicting himself. Pino’s brother, Vito, does not agree with his sibling’s racist ways, but Pino forces him into accepting racism. Reid goes on to say that this behavior is characteristic of those who join violent mobs because they do not support the violence, yet they give in to it (101-102). It resembles peer-pressure except on a larger scale.
The climax of the movie is when Buggin’ Out and Radio Raheem enter the pizzeria. Buggin’ Out threatens to boycott the pizzeria if Sal does not place African Americans on the “Wall of Fame” in his restaurant due to the predominantly black clientele. This, and Radio Raheem’s ghetto blaster, lead to the brawl that occurs soon after in the movie. The police are called, which ends in the death of Radio Raheem and, in turn, leads to the restaurant being set ablaze by Mookie, who has watched everything occur since...

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