Film Analysis – Do the Right Thing
Do the Right
Thing, directed by Spike Lee, followed a few days in the lives of
the members of an ethnically diverse neighborhood in late-1980s Brooklyn, New York.
many neighborhoods in America at that time, racial tension amongst the residents of the
neighborhood was high.
For instance, one African-American resident, Raheem, always walked
around with a radio, publicly playing “Fight the Power”, which was a song that discussed
revolting against the institutionalized norms in the United States; these norms, and the
establishment, were both represented and embodied in White Americans, based on this
Raheem had confrontations with both Latino and Italian-American residents of the
neighborhood, mainly due to his intrusive manner of conveying his message.
During an encounter at the local pizzeria, Raheem asked Sal, the pizzeria owner and an
immigrant Italian, why there were no Black celebrities on the Wall of Fame of the pizzeria; he
felt as if the celebrities chosen should reflect the history and ethnic make-up of the
neighborhood, which was primarily African-American.
The owner explained that the celebrities
chosen (all native Italians or Italian-Americans) were done so to pay homage to his homeland,
not as a putdown of any other people.
Sal then asked that the radio, blasting “Fight the Power”,
be turned down in his restaurant.
Raheem refused, stating that people in America have a right to
listen to their music how they please; then he demanded that there be Black celebrities put on the
Sal disagreed and refused to honor the request, and Raheem departed.
Later that day, Raheem returned to the pizzeria, and once again demanded that there be
pictures of Black celebrities added to the Wall of Fame; this time, there was a noticeable
increased tone of agitation in his speech.
Sal did not acknowledge the request, instead choosing
to insist that the radio, again playing “Fight the Power,” be turned down; the volume was