The year 2020 has definitely been an interesting year, to say the least. At the beginning of the year, many people thought it was going to be a season filled with clarity, vision, renewal, and all the other positive words people generally claim to be a part of their “new year, new me” experience. Instead, ironically, there has been much loss and tragedy for so many people in the world due to the pandemic. To make matters worse, at a time where we should all be bonded together, black people have been reminded yet again that racism will not stop for anything. In the midst of the recent news and protests due to the deaths of Ahmad Aubery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, there have been a lot of questions that have risen to the surface that need to be answered. For me, watching documentaries and consuming different types of resources sheds light on the situation. One of those resources was the documentary called 13th directed by Ava DuVernay.
13th is a documentary that explores the prison system in America by focusing on its history and highlighting the underlying systematic racism that exists within its structure. This powerful film not only showed the injustices that persist within the justice system, but specifically how black people are impacted by police, the courts, and prison culture.
Though I saw this documentary when it was first released, it was helpful to look back at it to help me understand the current moment in the U.S. Overall, I really enjoyed this documentary. I think that it sheds light on what work needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and it acts as a springboard for how to move forward. As we push toward equality as a society, it is vital to know our history, from all perspectives with no bias. For example, this involves seeing the connection between the history of chattel slavery of Africans in this country and the prison system in the early 1900s. Also, examining the operation of police within the Reconstruction Era, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights Era, and seeing its connection to racism as well as how it relates to the present day.
Watching this documentary was very educational, and I learned that there are a lot of faults in the justice system that need to be reformed. This documentary also highlighted for me how deep race plays a part in our society, and that it might not seem as obvious. In a time where the nation is turning towards equality and reform for black people, this documentary undoubtedly gives context to this moment, and it aids in the process of our country becoming more aware of the lived experiences of the many people in America.