The Portrayal of Racism in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing

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The Portrayal of Racism in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing takes a powerful look of how racism is portrayed in a black community, and how society supports some of the stereotypes of different ethnicities and cultures. Racism manifests itself throughout the film within several of the characters, who all happen to be of a different race. The film begins with Public Enemy’s song, “Fight the Power”, which is played throughout the film, and is played at the last scene of the film within a conflict between two of the characters, of a different race. The songs main argument is to inform the audience about racial oppression within African Americans, for instance public enemy’s songs states: “While the Black bands sweating and the rhymes rolling. Got to give us what we need. Our freedom of speech is freedom or death. We got to fight the powers that be.” Lee’s intentions for this particular song to be played in the beginning and throughout the film, is to inform the audience about one of the film’s main arguments about racism and how it is manifested within the different ethnicities and cultures. In the beginning of the film the first conflict between the characters, Sal, the owner of the pizzeria in the black community, and Buggin’ Out, demonstrates how racism is prevailed in the film. When Buggin’ Out sits down to have a slice of pizza he notices Sal’s “Wall of Fame” only has pictures of famous Italian Americans. Buggin’ Out confronts Sal, and tells him why there are no “Brothers on the wall.” Without hesitation, Sal responds with hate towards Buggin’ Out: “You want brothers on the wall? Get your own place; you can do what you want to do. You can put your brothers and uncles and nieces and nephews, your stepfather, stepmother, whoever you want. But this is my pizzeria. American Italians on the wall only” (3). Sal’s mockery of Buggin’
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