The first thing that really caught my attention in BlackkKlansman was the Black power sign that speaker Stokely Carmichael (Corey Hawkins) stood behind as he spoke to the Black Student Union. The sign had a black background with the word power written in white. I understand that the sign represented Black power but if you really think about it, then when you read the word power you see white because it is in white letters. The background is black meaning that Black people live behind white power.
See, even when Black people design things to empower ourselves we still subconsciously give the upper hand to the white man because our minds have been ingrained to think inferior. The sign should have been designed with a white background with the word power written in black so when people read the sign they literally see black power.
With all of this police brutality we tend to think that more Black cops in the police force will do us right, which it does have its benefits, but according to the movie, Black cops face as much racism as Black men do outside the force. The day that Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) got hired as the first Black police officer for the Colorado Springs police force he dealt with racist coworkers who did not want to see him succeed. It feels good to see a Brother in uniform but often times that Brother is probably struggling to have a voice and to make a difference in his community due to the oppression of his own white officers.
Stallworth immediately wanted to go into the detective department because he hated the records department. He was put in the records section because he was a rookie, not because he was Black, but we all know that Stallworth would stay in the records section for a long time if he were not adamant about moving to a higher department. Black men don’t have the luxury of working hard and keeping our nose clean for promotions. Whatever success we want we have to demand it.
Stallworth’s first assignment was to observe the speech of Stokely Carmichael. You see the irony, a Black cop going undercover to a Black spokesman’s meeting to see if there are any severe threats to America (white people). This shows that white people only want you to succeed when it benefits them as well.
I then noticed how Stallworth took it upon himself to call the KKK hotline, which started the investigation. You see how the police force was more concerned about a Black man uplifting the Black community but cared less about the KKK terrorizing black communities with lynching and cross burnings. This is why we cannot trust the police force help our communities. We’re all we got!
Stallworth’s partner who went undercover for face to face meetings with the KKK was a Jewish man. People often try to make comparisons between the Holocaust and Slavery; the oppression of Jews to the oppression of Black people. Jewish people have the luxury of just lying about being Jewish, and they can easily pass for a white person, which is the only obstacle Stallworth’s partner, Flip Zimmerman had to face while meeting with the KKK. Even Zimmerman said that he never thought about being a Jew growing up. He never participated in the traditions of Jewish people like having a bar mitzvah. He was just another white kid.
That’s the difference between the oppression of Jewish people and Black people. Jews only have to ignore their heritage, and they can enjoy as many freedoms as white people. Some Black people try so hard to live their lives as non-threatening to white people and still will get called a nigger because of the color of their skin. That’s the difference between Us and Jewish people. Our skin tones will always separate us from white people no matter how comfortable we try to make them feel.
I also want to address the role of white women in this movie. All the white women were mere wives of the Klansmen. The first white woman shown was acting as a maid while the Klansmen had a meeting. This indicates that white power isn’t even equal for all white people. White power is for the protection of white men, and white women only enjoy it because white men need them to produce more white men. If white men could reproduce with each other, then white women would probably be lynched too.
On the other hand, Patrice (Laura Harrier) was a prominent character in fighting the Klan other than Stallworth. She was the leader of the Black Student Union and a serious target for the Klan. As you see Black power isn’t just for Black men, but equally for Black women too.
The only terrorist attack in the movie was to kill Patrice and the Klansmen used one of their wives to plant a C4 bomb in Patrice’s mailbox with the intentions of using a remote control to blow it up once she came home. This proves that even though white women are not wearing the white robes they are still just as dangerous as the Klansmen. Many white women have put innocent Black men in prison for false rape accusations. The famous death of Emmet Till was because of a white woman.
This reminds me of the movie Get Out directed by Jordan Peele. Although a white man was the leader and muscle behind the family’s whateveryoucallit, a white woman was used to lure Black men into their home and a white woman was used to hypnotize Black men.
Another interesting topic I noticed in the movie was when Stallworth had an argument with Patrice when she found out that he was an undercover cop. Stallworth said, “Just because I don’t wear a beret screaming kill the white man doesn’t mean I don’t care about my people.”
Wearing dashikis, Black Lives Matter t-shirts, or even participating in counter white power protests are good ways to represent Black pride, but it’s not the only way or even the most effective way to prosper Black people. Receiving an education, taking Black relationships seriously, staying home instead of going to the club where you know niggas are just going to fight and shoot, biting your tongue towards racist people in the workforce and letting the right authorities handle the situation are more effective ways to elevate Black power. Patrice was the type of Black person to raise fists and talk on a loudspeaker, but Stallworth who fought racism behind the scenes was actually more effective.
Lastly, the movie showed clips from the Charlottesville, Virginia white power rally from 2017. It showed the clip where a Dodge Challenger driven by a white nationalist sped into a crowd of counter-protestors injuring many and killing one white woman. The reality clips really set the tone for the move because it reminded the audience that this isn’t just entertainment. That the Ku Klux Klan isn’t just a terrorist organization from the past.
BlackkKlansman is a great film directed and produced by Spike Lee and deserves as much support if not more as Black Panther did. Black Panther had messages that are happening in reality, but at the end of the day, it is still a fictional Marvel superhero. BlackkKlansman is a film based on a true story and has messages throughout the entire movie that is true and happening today. When President Obama got elected for President in 2008, the Black community, the LGBT community, and even many white people thought that America was moving in the right direction.
Then in 2012, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager was shot and killed in his own neighborhood which sparked a global protest about racism, gun laws, and the troubled image of Black men in America. Then 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia happened which showed many white men carrying torches, extending their right arms, and screaming white power stuff. These are just two of many events that occurred ever since America experienced its first Black President, which many people tried to argue that Obama is as white as he is Black. It’s funny how white people suddenly forgot about the brown paper bag rule.
America has a long way to go to becoming an equal and diverse nation. Its not happening anytime soon. White people like to make very slow and simple changes and Black people treat these small changes as milestones.