In his film Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee focuses on stereotypes that exist within a neighborhood, which allows him to show how the representatives of the general public face societal issues, emphasizing that their political sensibilities can hardly be altered by the influence of one person but inevitably yield to the environment and community.
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The sense of united diversity is vital for the film, as it allows Spike Lee to show that people who are made to interact will not be able to coexist normally and create a positive environment unless they find the thing they have in common. Buggin’ Out attends Sal’s pizzeria but is willing to talk only about black civil rights.
The characters of Do the Right Thing pay enormous attention to their heritage and the color of their skin, which creates racial problems and prevents them from successful adaptation to their reality. African-Americans and Italian-Americans live in the same community, but they do not perceive themselves as Americans and emphasize their differences. Buggin’ Out and Pino meet in the pizzeria because of its location, but they are not ready to accept each other.
Buggin’ Out triggers all those events that happen in the film but it does not mean that he is the only one to be blamed because one person is enough to plant doubt in people’s minds, but a group is needed to start a riot and carry it through. Initially, his words were ignored, and no one supported the protest.
The film is based on the contrast between love and hate, which shapes the way the characters treat each other, as they tend to divide their community into friends and enemies. Mookie seemed to be Sal’s friend but then he turns into a foe who is blamed for the protest.
Spike Lee refers to the concept of violence to make at the end of the film to make the readers recollect the events and consider whether they can be accepted in some situations or not. Malcolm X states that it is the right thing to do in a case of self-defense even though a person was killed (Lee).
The majority of people who attend an Italian-American pizzeria are African Americans. One of them asks to change photos of Italian celebrities to those of black ones. Still, who is right in this situation?
One of the characters plays music on the street. The majority of people accept it because they treat him as his neighbor and friend. So when Sal disagrees with this idea, he becomes their enemy. The same happens in the pizzeria.
Nothing happens when one person protests against the photos, but a riot that ends with death starts when a group of people unites.
Spike Lee created Do the Right Thing to reveal the effects of racial discrimination and stereotypes. In the film, he describes the life of a neighborhood that unites African-Americans and Italian-Americans. They live side by side and interact every day but differentiate themselves and refuse to adapt, which leads to societal issues. They try to make others yield so that they can remain the same, but it does not work. Still, gathering in groups, they become stronger and receive a chance to alter their environment so that it meets their needs and expectations.
Lee, Spike. “Do the Right Thing.” YouTube, uploaded by Leatrice Thigpen, 2016, Web.