9 Films that Tackle Race Relations Head-On

Not sure what to watch this evening? Here’s an idea: Skip that racist "comedy" flick, and watch a film that will enrage and educate you on the racial justice issues of yesterday and today.

Ahead, find some historical and modern-day películas that tackle race relations head-on.

MORE: 10 Racial Justice Podcasts You Need to Listen to Now

1. “Do the Right Thing”

In Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," characters of various races and ethnicities live among each other in a Bed-Stuy neighborhood. The film illustrates the racial stereotypes each group holds about the others, highlighting the racial tensions that ultimately lead to violence. 

2. "Fruitvale Station"

"Fruitvale Station" spotlights police violence in communities of color by sharing the real-life story of young Oakland African-American Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by a police officer at the Bay Area Rapid Transit train.

3. “Deputized”

This documentary explores how U.S. society – from police and schools to politicians and the media – promote anti-immigrant agendas that breed racial tension and, ultimately, led to the murder of an Ecuadorian immigrant. 

4. “Dear White People”

"Dear White People" is a satirical drama capturing the racial tensions students experience in academia. With discussions on microaggressions, cultural appropriation, blackface, gender and sexual orientation, the film explores some of the intersectional racial issues today's U.S. millennials encounter.

5. “Pelo Malo”

Told through the story of an Afro-Venezuelan boy's wish to straighten his afro-textured hair, "Pelo Malo" delves into anti-blackness, and internalized racism, in Latin American communities.

6. “Malcolm X”

"Malcolm X" is a biographical film of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader of the same name. Sharing his story from gang life to ministry, and the violence he encountered throughout, the movie, directed by Spike Lee, offers a much more nuanced tale of the villiainized black leader.

7. “12 Years a Slave”

This Oscar-winning film is based on a memoir by Solomon Northup, a "free-born" African-American abolitionist who was kidnapped and enslaved.

8. “Harvest of Empire”

Christina Milian hit the waters of Miami Beach looking hot, hot, hot in this tiny bikini.

9. “Selma”

"Selma" is a Golden Globe-winning historical drama that follows Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts to obtain equal voting rights, particularly the march he led from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.