As of now, Netflix features thousands of titles from various genres. If you are in a mood tonight to watch a movie based on racism, spending an hour scrolling down the Netflix menu doesn’t sound like a good idea. When it comes to racism, the streaming platform has a long list of movies from America and around the world. Societies have been segregating people into boxes based on their physical traits, ancestry, genetics, and social or cultural traits from the beginning of civilization. Racism turns out to be a monster predating on innocent lives when one race tries to gain superiority over another. Discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race have led to many bloodbaths, wars, genocides, and other brutalities in and out of history books. With all that said now, here’s the list of really good racism movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.
10. 13th (2006)
Ava DuVernay’s docu-drama, ‘13th‘, is an in-depth investigation of the functioning of the U.S. prison system. The movie upturns some of the unknown pages of American history and sheds light on the traces of racial inequality. The narrative compiles views of scholars, activists and politicians to draw a vivid picture of the criminalization of African American identity, which culminates in a general science about the people. DuVernay also checks the facts and figures behind the so-called ‘prison boom‘ in the U.S. in this thought-provoking work on race, human rights, justice, brutality, suffering, and embarrassment.
9. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015)
‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution’ is a breathtaking account of the ups and downs in the turbulent history of the Black Panther Party. For half a century, the controversial organization had been frequently listed in the headlines. An alluring cult had grown around it, supplemented by artworks, graffiti, movies, theater production, slogans, poems, and songs. Told in a non-linear mode, the documentary inquires the myth behind the Black Panther Party and documents the violence and criminal acts.
Renowned documentary filmmaker, Stanley Nelson weaves a dynamic account of the events using rare archival footage and first-person narratives including people from police, FBI, media, ex-Black Panthers, and detractors. ‘The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution’ turns out to be an essential historical document of one of the most radical and divisive revolutionary cultural movements in the U.S.
8. KKK: The Fight for White Supremacy (2015)
Filmmaker Dan Murdoch infiltrates America’s most infamous ultra-racist group, the Ku Klux Klan, and turns up with a stunning narrative of racial hatred and violence. He meets the Loyal White Knights, who is believed to be the largest Klan franchise. Murdoch documents exclusive footage of the groups’ secret rituals and initiation on cameras. The mystery behind notorious hoods of the KKK is also revealed to him and the viewers.
The clan members claim that they are not violent. But with the help of pieces of evidence supported by facts and figures, the documentary takes us to the horror at the core of the white supremacist ideology. The film follows events as protests erupt and Black Power groups, including the New Black Panthers, take to the streets to preach their own agenda of black supremacy. ‘KKK: The Fight for White Supremacy‘ also checks on the other side of the burning issue. By showing visuals from the New Black Panthers’ rival protests and KKK marches face to face, Dan Murdoch prompts us to ponder over two of the most extreme racist ideologies in American history and deadly race war in the making.
7. Schindler’s List (1993)
Steven Spielberg‘s heartbreaking account of the genocide during World War 2, ‘Schindler’s List’ is haunting, upsetting and eye-opening at the same time. The movie assimilates all the pain, loss, suffering, cruelty, empathy, and human endurance from the concentration camps, hideouts and ghettos. Based on the true story, the plot follows Oskar Schindler, a cunning German businessman who has special interests in the Nazi-occupied Polish State.
Oskar sees an enormous opportunity to make money through selling army utensils, cookware and ammunition to the German forces. In order to double his profit, he hires the desperate Jew inhabitants from Krakow’s ghetto controlled by the Nazi troops. Being an unpaid labor force, Jews in the ghettos have very high demand in the job market. Oskar generously distributes money to all the kingpins in the government and army to secure labor force and military contracts.
But for the Jew laborers and Oskar’s Jewish accountant, working a day in the factory means extending their life span for another day. Soon, Oscar realizes this truth and demands as much as Jewish workers. He had to please the Nazi chiefs with heavy bribes to strike off his employee names from the list of people sent to concentration camps. By the end of World War 2, the bribes devour almost all of Oskar’s wealth in one of the greatest humanitarian missions that saved 1,100 innocent lives from Nazi gas chambers.
6. 42 (2013)
’42’ is the real-life story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American who played a Major League Baseball. The movie follows the historical journey of Robinson erasing the lines of racist discrimination when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. ’42’ also places the visionary general manager of Dodgers, Branch Rickey, who first signed Robinson to the minors and helped to become a regular in the jersey number ’42’ in all his Major League career. While Chadwick Boseman plays Robinson, Harrison Ford appears as Branch Rickey. Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, had also taken part in the production of ’42.’
5. American Experience: Ruby Ridge (2017)
‘Ruby Ridge’ is a thrilling narrative document of the notorious Ruby Ridge incident on August 21, 1992. The movie chronicles the 11-day siege and shootout of the house of white separatist Randy Weaver, his family, and a friend named Kevin Harris on Ruby Ridge in Northern Idaho. Weaver’s wife, Vicki, his 14-year-old son, Sammy, and U.S. Marshal William Degan were killed during the gun exchange. Randy Weaver, a former U.S. Army engineer, was attracted by the ideals of the Aryan Nations, a white supremacist group.
When charged with selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns to an undercover agent, Weaver had failed to appear in court, which led to the face-off. Several eyewitness accounts and an interview given by Weaver’s daughter, Sara, and the federal agent took part in the standoff, Ruby Ridge incident was the boiling point in the violent history of the American militia movements. The incident shook the nation and polarized public opinion with debates and articles flooded the media.
4. Little Boxes (2017)
‘Little Boxes’ puts forward the huge difference in determining one’s identity based on race between the urban and suburban areas. The movie tells a complex issue through a number of hilarious situations arise when an interracial couple moves to a small town in Washington state from New York City with their teen son. The identity crisis of the newcomers at the new place first hits Clark, a 6th-grade student of the interracial and intellectual couple, Mack and Gina. While the boy struggles to cope up with the judgmental attitude and stereotypes prevailing in the suburban society, his parents realize that the new community has an entirely new set of obstacles to offer. ‘Little Boxes‘ is a straight-from-the-heart narrative of racist prejudices that still reign in suburban and rural America.
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3. Black Man, White Skin (2015)
‘Black Man, White Skin’ is a rare piece of human document about the life and struggle of African albinos. The movie, which is directed by Jose Manuel Colón Armario, is hailed for its contribution to human rights in general, and to the rights of albinos in particular. The camera traces back as far as Kilimanjaro to exploring the health and social problems of the albino population in African lands. The small population is battling with health issues like skin cancer and poor medical support systems to prevent, a major reason behind the statistics that show many patients die at as early as their ’30s.
The documentary sheds light on the injustices of African albinos. The director digs deep into the controversial reports of African Albinos are persecuted and killed. Besides the social ostracization, their main threat is the scorching sun, which causes deadly skin diseases. ‘Black Man White Skin’ unfolds diverse stories of constant struggle for survival and ends with a positive note of hope when activist groups in Spain take the human rights issue in front of the rule of law.
2. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Sergio Leone’s cult classic, ‘Once Upon a Time in America’, is an epic tale of a group of underprivileged boys in New York City’s Jewish area. The movie spans over a period of 40 years and chronicles the growth of the boys as a clan of rude gangsters in the backdrop of the historical timeline. Told in back and forth storytelling method using flashbacks and flash-forwards, the movie follows the small town hoodlum David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson and his partners in crime, Max, Cockeye and Patsy. The movie makes invisible but strong lines of racist prejudices and stereotypes visible through the lives of four men. The system never allows them to be what they really are. Instead, David and friends end up in the darkest alleys of the underworld and drug trafficking, like all the underdogs. The movie also depicts New York’s multilayered structure of class and race.
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1. Mudbound (2017)
‘Mudbound‘ is a harrowing and powerful narration of racism and prejudice prevailing in the southern states of the U.S. When two families, the black family of the Jacksons, and the white family of the McAllans, are pitted against each other when they are compelled to share a land by the social order. Now, they have to fight for each and every necessity in their daily life and work.
As the two families lock horns with each other while also dealing with poverty and the overall hostile environment, the return of two war veterans changes the course of the events. They are Ronsel, the Jacksons’ eldest son, and Jamie, Henry McAllan’s younger brother, who’ve come back from the war front. Soon unnatural friendship buds between the two soldiers. However, their friendship sans social hierarchy and race don’t have the strength to challenge the reactionary social forces.
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