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Editorial: Black trauma in movies does more harm than good

Recently, two films have been trending on social media regarding the trauma in Black communities and how it does not benefit the community in any way.

The Amazon Prime Original movie “Them” was released on April 9. It focuses on the hardship of a Black family transitioning from North Carolina to California to live a better life in an all-white neighborhood. The family becomes terrorized by their new neighbors and face different micro-aggressions that stimulate their own personal horrors.

The problem many are having with the film is that “Them” replicates the style of Jordan Peele’s “Us” movie from 2019, and the scenes are seen as insensitive.

Twitter user @ajthefruitdonut posted, “The reason Jordan Peele’s movies work is that he makes up the horror himself. His scenarios deal with racism and class, but it’s never TOO similar to actual traumatic events against Black people. Shows like “Them”, however, just take actual hate crimes and shove them in the show.” The tweet received over 8,100 likes and over 490 retweets.

Another film that has been shaking the table is Netflix Original “Two Distant Strangers.” This 32-minute film is about a man who gets stopped by a policeman on his way home, and after he gets attacked by the policeman, he wakes up and restarts the same scenario. The twist is that every time he encounters the policeman, he experiences actual cases of police brutality that have happened in reality, such as the George Floyd case.

In this case, Black trauma has been displayed as entertainment in these films and others. While this may be seen as bringing “awareness,” it is not something that has to be graphically displayed repeatedly. Black people and other minorities have lived through March 2020 and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement that brought awareness through protesting, social media posts and all news outlets.

Chicago resident, John Mbi (@johnmbi_) posted on Twitter, “No Need to watch ‘Them’ or ‘Two Distant Dtrangers’ when you can witness racism and police brutality in real time.”

Instead of displaying trauma as a way to help raise awareness, people need to consider other ways on how to educate themselves on police brutality and racism. There are more beneficial ways to help the Black community.

For example, boycott brands and people with platforms that have outwardly expressed racism or their support of police brutality.

You can research different charity organizations that are raising money in Black communities because of gentrification. According to Governing.com, “Nearly 20 percent of neighborhoods with lower incomes and home values have experienced gentrification since 2000, compared to only nine percent during the 1990s.”

Another way to help the Black community is to help those directly affected by racism or police brutality. After the Black Lives Matter movement occurred, many people donated to different organizations to help the cause. According to New York Times, Tyree Conyers-Page, the leader of “Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta” organization collected more than $450,000 and it was spent on his personal expenses. To avoid these tragedies, reach out to the families directly.

Black trauma lives within the Black community, and exploiting the hardest times of their lives for entertainment is not a respectful way to uplift the community. Consider doing more research on ways they are asking for help, reaching out to the community and helping directly.

This editorial reflects the general opinion of The Spectator staff.

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