Spike Lee’s newest ‘joint’ masterfully situates the story of Ron Stallworth, a Colorado Springs, CO detective who infiltrates the KKK, as a Black man, and inserts himself into their terrorists acts while collecting the necessary intel to take-down the organization from the inside. Stallworth communicates via phone with the organization and when it is time for face-to-face meetings, fellow police officer Phillip Zimmerman replaces Stallworth as the stand up white guy every KKK chapter needs to have. More than that, however, the movie is sandwiched between scenes of white women: The opening reveals a white woman aggressively mourning fallen confederate soldiers as she searches for the one that belongs to her; And the ending features an image of Heather Heyer, the civil rights activist who died in the Charlottesville, VA 2017 ‘Unite the Right’ rally.
This isn’t to say that more people will die at the ‘Unite the Right 2’ rally, rather, BlacKkKlansman is the call to action against the trap of complicity that white women so often fall into; a call crying out against activity of the klan and any subsequently connected demonstrations, such as the one taking place Sunday. One of the most eye-opening parts of the two hour and fifteen minute film is the reflective rhetoric that characters use to converse with Black Stallworth versus the white Stallworth that he is assumed to be and how it parallels to the ways in which the current president talks about, say, Hati, immigrants or journalists, just to name a few.
For example, BlacKkKlansman depicts a scene of a Klan meeting where David Duke says, “America first […] this is our country,” as his fellow men repeat it back to him. In side by sides at the end the movie, the audience watches clips of the current POTUS, his campaign slogan, and verbages likened to “we need to take back America.” It’s almost as if the absence of a racial hierarchy would evacuate their purpose and thusly the status quo given to them. Mmm….
And with no exact timestamp, BlacKkKlansman is assumed to be set sometime in the recent past, 70s perhaps, and analogously represents how racism has no end date. How KKK chapters specifically encourage members to become politicians. So, it comes as no surprise that there are neo-nazis running for office and the POTUS more or less boils down to a Klansman: That America finds itself enamored with Hitler-like tendencies of proposed wall building, a Muslim travel ban and the denouncement of affirmative action policies in college admission decisions. Meanwhile, a tweet that carries the brunt of the titanic can read “I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence,” as if this is *the* present to open Christmas morning.
It is a fact that no “condemn[ing]” is taking place unless it’s “both sides” at fault. It is a fact that any “act of violence” is coming from the source of said tweet per the receipts just pulled. Not to mention, it is a year later and the response has backflipped through the North Korea Summit, Helsinki’s Meltdown, the Mueller Probe, all of the dirt surrounding Kavanaugh’s appointment *and* there’s the Stormy Daniels situation. These are acts of violence— against U.S. constituents, our elections, our trust in democracy, the sanity of our highest court, and our continuously confirmed disbelief in this administration. These are the mechanisms of divide and survive, distract and deflect that both BlacKkklansman exposes for the truth it tries to cover and that today’s oval office epitomizes.
So again I repeat, BlacKkKlansman was released Friday and there’s a ‘Unite the Right 2’ rally taking place in D,C. on Sunday— what a time to be alive in the United States of America.
While BlacKkKlansman works to combat what ‘Unite the Right 2’ stands for and the literal centuries the KKK has been demonizing, terrorizing and injecting the country with hate, the following Monday strolls in with tweets straight from 1600 Pennsylvania ave reading, “While I know it’s ‘not presidential’ to take on a lowlife like Omarosa…”
How far have we actually come?