What Is The Theme Of Radio Raheem's Death In Do The Right Thing

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“Turn that Jungle Music off. We ain't in Africa.” “You nigger motherfucker!” “I'll fucking tear your fucking nigger ass…” These are the foul, hateful words spewed by Sal (Danny Aiello) towards Radio Raheem (Bill Nun) minutes before his death, in the film Do The Right Thing (1989), written, produced, and directed by Spike Lee. Lee depicts the hottest day of the year in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and shadows Mookie (Spike Lee); as the film progresses, tensions rise over the fact that Sal, the owner of the local pizza shop Sal’s Famous Pizzeria, only has Italian-American photos on his Wall Of Fame. At the climax of the film, Sal and Radio Raheem brawl and Radio Raheem is consequently murdered by the police. Raheem’s death …show more content…

Like the voices of the mob had uttered before the riot during the film, Radio Raheem was not the only black person killed by the police“ They killed Radio Raheem! It's murder. They did it again, just like Michael Stewart. Murder. Eleanor Bumpers. Murder!” (Lee), Mookie, like the rest of the neighborhood had heard of these black bodies being killed but this time it happened to one of his friends. Sal meanwhile, committed a crime (breaking Raheem’s radio), was not even looked twice at by the police because he had the benefit of white privilege. Naomi Zack analyzes this example of white privilege, saying, “It’s not so much that being white confers privilege but that not being white means being without rights in many cases...But I think that is what ‘white privilege’ is meant to convey, that whites don't have many of the worries non whites, especially blacks do” (Zack). Mookie, seeing this act of white privilege fears for his friends and his community because Radio Raheem could have been anyone in the neighborhood; it was not and still is not abnormal for black men and women to get killed by police. If Sal wanted to, he could’ve - indirectly or directly- gotten any black person in …show more content…

Radio Raheem had just died about ten minutes prior to Mookie throwing the garbage can. Mookie has a right as a human being to express his grief and frustration for his friend that he loved, like everyone else in the rest of the world. And while Martin Luther King would disparage Mookie for his actions because “it is impractical [Violence] because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction of all” (King), King however was threatened and hated by his own government after preaching peace and nonviolence for more than 10 years, “You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it, before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation” (FBI to king). Although nonviolence is effective in some cases and causes, when oppressors are willing to go as far as to kill the oppressed sometimes violence is a necessary tactic to procure peace (like shown in Do The Right Thing), which is a believe of Malcolm X, who once said that, “I don’t even call it violence when it’s self-defense. I call it intelligence” (X). So why should Mookie stand by and weep for his fallen friend, when he could take action by dismantling one of the only symbol of white supremacy in his neighborhood , aka Sal’s pizzeria, a place where a black person’s picture could not be on Sal’s wall unless the it was burned to the ground, even though it is black people who buy his pizza, pay

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