BlacKkKlansman Response

BlacKkKlansman was a very powerful film. The extreme acts of white supremacy and language used throughout the film is shocking, and then once you realize there are people in the world who are actually like these white supremacists, it’s terrifying. So many moments in the film stuck out to me, but I thought the dynamic between Flip and Ron was at many times a source of what a positive relationship between white and black men can look like. Flip was constantly learning from Ron, and when Flip was for the first time exposed to discrimination as a white man for accusations of being Jewish, he talked to Ron about how for the first time he finds himself always thinking about his heritage and what it means to him. I found this to be a powerful moment because Flip was finally starting to get a small, small glimpse as a white man into what life is like for Ron as a black man in America.

This movie also touches on the idea of tokenism by hiring one black police officer to suddenly change the face of the police department. However, at the end of the movie much progress is clearly not even made within the system when we see Ron being mistaken for attacking Felix’s wife. When he repeatedly tries to explain that he is an undercover cop and attempts to show them his badge from his pocket he is continually beaten and held down. It’s only when Flip arrives and yells at the officers that they finally let Ron go. The scene showing the white supremacist police officer, Landers, pulling over Patrice and her friends was also an extremely disturbing example of the extremely broken and flawed policing system. Although Landers was caught and put in jail in the end, the audience is in no way satisfied. One person’s arrest doesn’t make up for years and years of oppression or the fact that the KKK and white supremacy is still very prevalent in our society today. This is shown through the 2017 clips of the Charlottesville riots at the end. While the film portrays this true story of an investigation that took place in 1978, it reemphasizes that real change has still not been made and justice is still a long ways away from being served to black Americans over 40 years later.

2 comments

  1. I thought it was so interesting feeling like the movie framed Ron as being fairly well accepted in the police force but then like you said, the end of the movie showed Ron being arrested for attacking Felix’s wife and she immediately called him the N word and accused him of raping her….. and the police officers believed her.

  2. I also struggled with the fact the CS police department not only hired Ron as their diversity hire, but also explicitly told him that it was his job to “change things around here”. Even though Ron did change things to a certain extent, the fact that the investigation was buried by the chief speaks volumes about the system and policing as a whole. Even though Landers is arrested by the rest of the department, with the help of Patrice, I definitely was not satisfied. I agree that the contextualization with the “unite the right” rallies and clips from Charlottesville added to portraying the severity of the problem, and re-watching the film in 2020, it is sad to say there are clips from this year that could have been used and had the same effect.

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