Release Date: October 7, 2017
Available on: Netflix
The best way I could describe this film is… intense. It opened my eyes to a lot of things that I had never known about how the government and legal system are set up that were really shocking to me. The main point of the film was that the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery, had a loophole that slavery can still be done as punishment for a crime. It also makes a point about how even though only five-percent of the world’s population lives in America, twenty-five-percent of the world’s prisoners are here, a statistic that is really just insane.
Watching how for years, American lawmakers have set things up in a way that specifically targets black people as the ones being punished the most was really horrifying. I mean I knew that these kind of things were happening, I just had not realized how deep it actually goes and how laws have been created specifically to keep black people in jail. For example, they showed that the War on Drugs made it so that possession of crack, which was cheaper and more prevalent in black communities than cocaine, was punished one-hundred times harsher than possession of cocaine, even though they were equally dangerous. Another important point was that if you went to prison, once you get out a lot of your freedoms still get taken away, regardless of what you were doing time for.
These are things that you do not really think about much if they do not directly affect you, and I really hope that a lot of people see this movie so that they can better understand the hardships that black people face in this country. I remember that I used to think that oppression of black people basically ended with the Civil Rights Movement, but it is clear that we are not quite there yet. I hope that eventually we will get to a point in this world where we can all be treated as equals, regardless of skin color or ethnic background.