Detroit is difficult to watch. There, we said it. A heart-breaking, hand-over-mouth-in-horror portrayal of the African American struggle in 1960s Michigan, Kathryn Bigelow’s latest endeavour demands that we sit up and recognise injustice in its purest form.
On Sunday 27th August, Show Racism the Red Card Wales was delighted to welcome so many of our friends to a screening at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, thanks to the kind support of Entertainment One UK. After a brief introduction by Campaign Manager, Sunil Patel, the film was left to speak for itself. When the lights came back on – silence.
Detroit left many in a contemplative mood. The story focused on the loss of black lives thanks to police brutality, and a system that saw these officers escape the punishment they so richly deserved. It was impossible to avoid making links to modern day.
In the United States today, Black people are still 3 times more likely to be killed by police than white people, despite the fact that 30% of these black victims were unarmed, compared to 21% of white victims. Perhaps more shocking is that research has found that only 1% of officers involved in these deaths were actually convicted (https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/ 2015).
Perhaps this is legitimate but we must ask ourselves, are we allowing structural racism to persist? If we are to become the equal, tolerant society that we should be, Detroit shows us that we must learn the lessons of the past.