A couple of days ago I attended the Black lives matter protest in Prague. Obviously, it wasn’t as big as the ones in the States and in no way dangerous but it was still very powerful. Way more people showed up than I was expecting, which pleasingly surprised me. There was this girl holding a sign that said: “Watch 13th on Netflix” and that’s exactly what I did when I got home and here is why you should too.
13th is a documentary about racial injustice and mass incarceration in the United States. It came out in 2016 and the sad truth is I never even heard about it till recent events erupted. The documentary won so many awards yet someone had to die for me to notice it.
When COVID-19 began, the sales of The Great Influenza book by John M. Barry increased enormously. It was relevant at the time.
Now, when everyone realized what a racist world we live in, the need to educate ourselves increased. 13th became a trending document on Netflix. Rightfully.
13th by Ava DuVernay portrays the history of black people in America.
She shows us in her documentary how slavery basically never ended. The oppression of black people simply changed narratives. From convict leasing to disenfranchisement to lynchings to segregation to the war on drugs to mass incarceration black people are facing today. Form slave to a criminal.
13th focuses on the Prison–industrial complex and how beneficial prisons are for the economy and why they need to stay the way they are, with the constant flow of inmates with zero effort to rehabilitate them.
13th is named after the the13th amendment of the United States Constitution and its horrid loophole. Slavery is prohibited unless you’re a criminal but if you change the meaning of criminal you can get away with oppressing the whole race.
13th is full of facts and statistics without being a lecture. The numbers overlap the interviews with people like Angela Davis, Cory Booker, or William Jelani Cobb, as well as clips of politicians like Clinton, Nixon, or Trump, making it interesting from start to finish.
13th is gonna make you feel a lot of things.
Anger. Frustration. Shame. Outrage. Disbelieve. Shock.
And in those 100 minutes of streaming, it’s gonna make you cry plenty of times.
But most of all it’s gonna help you understand how did we get to this point.
Because you might say “If you lived in those times, you would never tolerate slavery or segregation” but we do live in times of racial injustice and we are tolerating it.
13th is not gonna solve racism overnight, but being educated is the first step.