Spike Lee’s, Do The Right Thing is a contemporary look at racism in a ordinary city urban neighborhood. The movie is seen through the eyes of the main character, Mookey, we are shown the multiple relationships and often typical stereotypes of racial groups. This movies is filled with symbolism and imagery that feeds to the story’s plot. Throughout the movie, the scorching heat is always being refereed to. As the movie goes on , the heat rises. I think this is done to represent the increasing racial tension within the neighborhood. The movie uses many situations to paint a picture of the racial tension and inequality.
The main plot of the movie involves the relationship that a black neighborhood has with an Italian owned pizzeria and a Korean owned convenience store. There is a conflict that occurs when one of young men from the neighborhood enters the pizzeria and demands that the owner, Sal, include on his wall of famous Italians, famous Blacks as well. Sal refuses, telling the man that it is his pizzeria and he can have whomever he wants on the wall. The man leaves feeling even more frustrated than before and decides to organize a boycott. To his dismay, he is only able to recruit a single person.
Another conflict occurs between Mookey and one of of Sal’s sons. Sal’s son is an outspoken racist, or so it seems. He is always urging Sal to try to sell the business and leave the neighborhood to get away from “these” people (black people). Mookey forces Sal’s son to look at himself and examine his own values. He asks him who his favorite sports heroes and musicians are. They are all blacks.
Yet a third conflict occurs between residents of the neighborhood and the Korean owners of convenience. Here there is a small language barrier that leads to some of the frustration. Another, larger part of the problem is that residents see the majority of the business in their (black) neighborhood as being owned by non blacks. This serves to create anger toward the owners of these business. The residents think that unfair that things are this way.
A fourth incident occurs when a white male is walking his bike across the street and accidentally scuffs the kicks of one of the neighborhood blacks. The black guy get very upset because the white man did not apologize,and begins to chase after him. The black guy catches the white guy and starts to reprimand him and threatened him. The white man then responds by saying that the neighborhood is his.
The movie ends in a final confrotation at Sal’s in which the police are called and a local black resident of the neighborhood is killed by the police while they are trying to restrain him. This actoin by the police sets the other black residents off. They begin to riot and proceed to destroy Sal’s pizza joint. They almost destroy the Korean store too, except that the owner keeps yelling that he is one of them (black). This act seems to satisfy the mob.
What this movie says about racial equality is that for the most part a simple lesson. While the credits are rolling we remember a quote by Martin Luther King, jr. to the effects that if we always try to treat one wrong act with another we will never accomplish anything positive. He said, “A eye for and eye will only end up making us blind.”
As for inequality depicted in the movie, most of it is a result of confusion and a lack of communication between people. I believe the fewer people understand and the fewer people respect other cultures the world will never be a perfect place. The title of the movie is a type of advice Do The Right thing.