How To Expose Injustice Through Your Art.

Before you begin reading, listed below are some links to Black Lives Matter and related associations that you can consider donating to. Right now in this turbulent period of American History, it is not enough to sit back and not be racist, we must be anti-racist.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw the movie “Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri” released in 2017. This movie centers around a woman, Mildred Hayes, whose daughter was tragically raped and murdered a year before the movie takes place. The main issue is that her daughter’s murder was not fully investigated or followed up on and Mildred felt as if it was seen as secondary to other issues. Through thiS, the movie highlights the lack of focus within the police system and even police brutality.

Now, after watching this movie for the first time I felt a little confused.

I saw the movie as almost absurd. The magnitude of violence and hate radiated in this movie felt so unreal and exaggerated to me. To hear police officers talk to civilians like this, treat civilians like that, treat their families like that it completely baffled me and left me feeling as if this movie was not realistic. And when you feel that a movie is not realistic, it sometimes doesn’t affect you as deeply.

A couple weeks later, I completely disagree.

I can accurately say that the hate and violence that at once baffled me in that movie I have seen reflected in the past couple of days through the race riots and police brutality encompassing America today.

Never in my life I thought that I would see a video of a protest, a peaceful protest, and see a white police officer throw the white supremacy sign in someone’s face. Never in my life I thought I would see a video of a woman walking away from a protest be pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed and have the police officers laugh at her writhing in pain. Never in my life I thought that I would see a video of a Black reporter on CNN be taken into custody for doing his job and reporting on the Minneapolis riots, alongside the rest of his team invalidating their first amendment right to the press.

This comparison further emphasizes the point that film and theater and performance culture can be used as a tool to reflect injustice in our society and in our communities. What at first seemed absurd, in fact drove me to further understand the pain and intolerance these people of color are being subjected to. Through this we are able to see the power of media and how a movie that discusses these topics can be used as a learning tool to expose the damage in our society, to bring about justice for those who are experiencing injustices, to start a conversation about issues people are too scared to converse.

Even though I am a Hispanic immigrant, a recent citizen of the United States, I cant help but feel that I have this immense privilege because I am very much white passing. Apart from my Miami accent, I don’t have any other identifying markers that will inevitably lead me to be mistreated solely for my appearance. And because I have this privilege, I feel it is my duty to speak out about theses injustices even more because this disparage in the system is beyond unfair.

I am well aware that these two events deal with different issues. For starters, one is a movie that deals with a young woman’s rape and murder while the other is a real life event brought on by years upon decades upon centuries of injustice regarding murder and blatant segregation. However, both of these deal with the same thing at root:

the faults within the law enforcement system in the United States of America.

Finally, below are two pictures that provide a really start contrast for me that helped open my eyes to the reality that we’re living in and the realities we make up in our heads. To the right is a picture of the police station in the movie “Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri” being burned down by Mildred Hayes in a moment of rage and to the left we have the Minneapolis police station being similarly burned down in 2020.

It’s kind of crazy to believe that some thing that could happen in a movie could happen in real life but once we realize that the director was never crazy at all for putting that in there, that the director knew how to highlight injustice and what happens when people aren’t treated as they deserve to be treated, then we can finally gear up for some change because we are well past due for some.