Political change is the altering in the theory and practice of influencing individuals of the same interest. In its narrow sense political change is the modification of ways of achieving and practicing of governance position. Various methods and tools are used in bringing about political change in the society. The tools usually employed in bringing about political change are far reaching tools and methods like movies, media and general political campaigns. Political change in this case is the promotion of intended political perspective on matters pertaining making laws, negotiation amongst political subjects, exercising force and general governance.
Film is one way of impacting political change in a society. Film is usually chosen for this because of its far reaching characteristics and the capturing of large audience. The film Doing the Right Thing by Spike Lee is a political tool used to impact and address political dynamism to the minds of its audience. The movie is a depiction of street living in one of the pronounced intense summer waves at Brooklyn neighborhood. The movie reflects the engagement that existed between the residents and the vendors of the local Pizzeria in addition to their interaction with the area police. Racial tensions rose with the same warmth like the summer heat, until it caused the culminating riot that claimed the life of an Africa-American young Radio Raheem in addition to property destruction at the popular Pizza restaurant. Spike Lee presents this political agenda between the current and older generation and the general political difference the whites and blacks. The movie takes its main character Mookie and moves along with audience as he distributes pizza to the neighborhoods. This is represents the Bugging’ Out’s intent at boycott of Sal’s Smiley’s high regard for Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcon X. Thus this was a representation of another way of doing politics (Lee 12).
Spike Lee’s work exhibits a generational difference between current youth and older generation youths and how they are in the move to politically look for ways of gaining control of their history and change the all political scene of stereotypes and the way to react to situations like that of the Radio Raheem death (Lee 42).
Lee in this movie presents the historic situations that were used in an attempt to bring democracy and equality to America and pass the same to various generations (Lee 18). Lee uses historic examples like commercial nervousness that prevailed after the civil war in addition to the hip hop political impact, the stereotypical prevalence, riots and boycotts in the Africa-America history of the US.
In the movie, Lee talks of the intra-racial division existing between Mother Sister (Ossie Davis) and Da Mayor thus showing the bloc of elders in political agenda. Buggin’ Out’ and Radio Raheem are restless to move with political change. This is a replica of a radical political environment where some people are left in political dilemma and disillusion. Similarly Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcon X differ in political ideologies for achievement of Justice, the Southern Christian Leadership Congress (SNLC) and StudentNonviolent Coordination committee (SNCC) show disagreement on achievement of justice in the US. Lee makes an ambiguous quotation that shows the difference in political agendas of Malcon X and Martin Luther King, Jr. “violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral,”
Malcolm X claims, “I am not against using violence in self defense. I don‟t call it violence when it‟s self defense, I call it intelligence.” (Powell 32).
The film represents both these political ideologies during the various mixed reactions towards the death of Radio Raheem. Mother Sister and Da Mayor who preferred legal procedures in addressing the situation represented the political ideas of Martin Luther King Jr. while Mookie and Buggin’ Out’ represents those of Malcon X, since the prefer violence as the vital resolution to solving the prevailing injustice. They saw physical destruction of Sal’s as important for protection of justice (Lee 34). Da Mayor is similar to Martin Luther King Jr. representation of the voice of rationality and the un-official representation of the needs of black people. This is similar to Martin’s appeal to the whites and blacks of the middle class.
The difference in political ideologies between the older and young generations in Lee’s work is a replica of the historic difference between the SNCC and the SCLC along with the National Association of Colored People (NAACP). The SNCC in this case is known of pushing violence, boycotting and rioting against the continuing social injustices in the US than the SCLC. For instance in the film, Buggin’ Out’ at the Sal’s boycotting influentially talks to youth groups and instructs them on the use of direct action which was a famous technique with the NAACP. When reflecting back to the historic division between the SNCC and the SCLC during the 1961 voter education project, the NAACP grew cautious of their direct action policy as it had the possibility of fostering diversionary and problematic operations that will move away from the goal of the orientation (Powell 50). This is the same thing that happens in the film as Da Mayor and Mother Sister are uncomfortable with direction action that was characterized by violence and riots whereas the neighborhood youth are comfortable with direct action as a way of self defense and a method of garnering the whites’ reaction on the matter.
Mister Senior Love Daddy whole plays a vital role in the movie applauds on his radio show the African-American artists music. He draws the list of African-American singers despite of the riot. Leroi Jones was among the listed African-American singers. His music was analyzed by Senor Love Daddy and his audience during the Radio show. To their realization are the sporadic changes in reaction of the Negros towards America. The various changes were clearly reflected in Leroi’s music. The other issue depicted in the music is fact that African-America culture is at the same as American culture. The Italian Sal makes statements that his wall of fame has no relation with the blacks though they were his major customers. This was a political denial of the rights to contribute to the American culture. This is in addition to the civil war; the Sal pizza showed how the suppliers were biased that consumers are always white.
The whole film is a replica of the political difference and change that existed in the African-American world. The film is used to impact the need for political change in the society though people will always differ in political ideologies. The film helps in freeing justice from the violence of its designated confinement within the terms forged in by racism.
Malcolm X is amongst the celebrate films in the American history that played a big role in the fight for equality in the America society. The film also is an inspiration to viewers who watch the film and get to understand the power of success in our lives lies in our own hands (Marcus 34). The story of Malcolm X symbolizes the rising of the foreign Americans who believed in the American dream that everybody has equal chance of succeeding no matter the background. In this section, we are to discuss the role of the film Malcolm X in the political change of America as it influences the American people.
The film begins with a brief history of the Malcolm X. the film starts with a brief historical background of Malcolm x family, where his father believed the natives Americans would never accept black people in their society and the hope of having a good life was return to Africa. During his early life, Malcolm was victim of violence. He witnessed his father’s death, white clan burn their house down and having to depend on their mother who was unable to cater for their own needs. The film exposes the difficult situations African America children were forced to grow up in witnessing separation within the American society where there were schooled reserved for black children alone while other were meant for white children. The film has a lot of issues being raised (Lee, Marvin 112). One of the important issues is equality in humanity to all citizens despite their color and background. In the movie, there is focus of racism against black children, which dehumanizes them after several attempt of Malcolm trying to join school and a teachers tells him that he should look for something to do and work with his hands. This action makes him feel that there are using him because there though they were different from black people. In return Malcolm dehumanizes some white people in revenge of the subjugation he faced from the white teacher. This movie play a big role in assembles political leaders who share some ideology with Malcolm X. Malcolm X ideologies was to make shape the society to be a fit for all social groups to live together in peace and harmony. In the modern political arrangement between the democrats and republican there are divided by the political ideologies of what Malcolm left in America. Each political party champions for equal right in all citizens despite of their background in order for every citizens.
In addition, Malcolm started to acknowledge the presence of good white people after he meets white skinned people in Mecca who treated him as equal to them. This incident is very symbolical to the current political arena. There is a great improvement of political leaders who acknowledge the kindness of white in the society. This comes after realization that whether white or black, blood is red and we all experience same issues (Lee, Marvin 132). Whether you are white or black, you feel the pressure of gas prices when their go up and thus hating each other because of skin color will not solve the social economical challenges we experience. The movie makes the audience understand that as citizens we all go through same economical challenges and we all the same.
The films movies aims to makes Americans understand the whole idea of humanity. In the film, Malcolm character is used to reflect on the dark past of America racism and unfairness in the society. The movie helps political leaders champion for equal opportunity in the society which Malcolm never lived to see. The change in the political field is as a result of political influence of political style of Malcolm and the America he wanted to live in. the destiny of America has been influence by its dark history, which up to date has an influence on the political life of Americans. When we choose leaders, there are characters of leadership which we ought to see in every candidate that represent the wish of America. In the film, Elijah Muhammad uses Malcolm to strengthen his organization for the fight of Muslim laws to be included in the American constitution (Marcus 56). Today, the sheria laws which are similar to Muhammad will are being considered by political leaders who want to scope the Muslim vote. The politics in America are issue based and politicians are supposed to talk about issues affect all citizens not by representing a small group with their own interest. The movie takes a role of educating Americans on choosing issues that represent all nationalities, races and gender hence shaping the political future of political in America since all citizens are aware of negative of racism based politics and the harm on the economy of the country.
Both films are source of media for of disseminating information to the public. The influence caused by the two films in shaping the political future of America has made a difference in the way politics are played today. In both movies, there is deep revelation the harm caused by negative vices America experienced before early 60’s. Politicians and political parties are keen to identify ideologies that are aimed towards lifting the lives of American to a higher standard. Adding to this, both films are educative about the dangers of social segregation towards the people and the economy. In do the thing right, the symbolism of humanity. The movie discourages racism based politics (Marcus 117). The same theme is well represented in Malcolm X where the main character act spreads the word of humanity to all citizens despite their skin color.
In conclusion, the film industry is keen on speaking on social injustices within the society of America. The movie makers have represented the ideology of an equal society where all citizens are equal before the government. The two films represent an error when America was divided by social status and skin color and some individuals seemed to enjoy more rights than the other. Adding to this, the films advocate for the need of having a political life that is aimed towards ensuring that citizens live a good life as the government promised the slaves. In my own opinion, I think the two films are a good stepping stone in uniting American and bring us to a common understanding. If you are keen in understanding the politics of America, there is much affiliation to the ideologies of Malcolm. More films should be created to encourage healthy political competition in the future in order to educate more Americans who prefer movies over new and other form of sharing information.
Lee, Spike, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Bill Nunn, Richard Edson, Rosie Perez, Giancarlo Esposito, and John Turturro. Do the Right Thing. Irvington, NY N.p., n.d. Print.
Lee, Spike, Marvin Worth, Arnold Perl, Terence Blanchard, Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall, Al Freeman, and Malcolm X. Malcolm X. Burbank, CA N.p., n.d. Print.
Marcus, Alan S. Celluloid Blackboard: Teaching History with Film. Charlotte, NC: IAP-Information Age Pub, 2007. Print.
Powell, Gerald A. A Rhetoric of Symbolic Identity: An Analysis of Spike Lee's X and Bamboozled. Dallas: University Press of America, 2004. Print.