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This is the Community Arts project done by Mike Ferrigno, Alex Hajjar, Amanda Strano, and Joseph Valerio, we hope you enjoy! It is a quick documentary on the wonderful Christmas lights of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and describes their history, impact, and art form.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy!
PS: Sorry about the late upload, the youtube site took forever last night, so I slept while the video was processing.
Do The Right Thing does more than just illustrate a day in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn during the 1980s. It shows how racial tensions and unnecessary hatred can tear us apart, all in the matter of a day. It is a frightening expose of how easily people can be driven to commit acts of violence, and how it never solves anything.
Something that struck me deeply in the film was the song that Radio Rahim constantly played on his radio, “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy. The racial groups in the film–the African-Americans and the Italian-Americans especially–felt that the “power” that needed to be fought was each other. Throughout the film, there was obvious hatred and bigotry on each side, leading to palpable racial tensions and ultimately violence. However, all of this was unnecessary. Why must the different racial groups blame each other for their personal problems and failures? I felt that most of the characters were lazy and deplorable, and brought this upon themselves. I don’t understand why they couldn’t just work together and live in harmony with each other. Obviously, their hatred did not solve anything. Rather, it just made the relationships between the ethnic groups worse.
The true “power” that must be fought in the film is this narrow-minded bigotry exhibited by most of the characters. The violence that occured at the end of the film did not surprise me in the least. The film would’ve been much more poignant if the characters actually shed their prejudices and learned to treat each other with the respect that every human being deserves. The film shows that such harmony is possible through the friendship between Vito and Mookie. Although one was black and one was white, they were like brothers and accepted each other for who they were, instead of hating each other for the color of their skin. That’s the way every character should have been in this this film.
Therefore, I think that no one in the film did the right thing. They did not “fight the power.”
As I was watching Do The Right Thing I couldn’t help but notice the neighborhood stereotypes which crowded the streets of the Brooklyn neighborhood, and I noticed how some of them still exist today. I can relate to some of the experiences that Mookie had, and it’s almost uncanny how much the characters in the movie mirror those in real life.
Living in an apartment complex, I’m exposed to my fair share of characters, and I’ve seen many archetypes that are represented in this movie. There are the kids who rebel against authority, the elders who try to know everyone’s business, the man who relays the news to people, the drunk who tries to look out for people, the well-meaning mentally disabled person, and the opinion leader who supplies everyone with guidance and information. Tensions arise, of course, but they are not as heated as they appear in the movie. Often times there are disputes between different neighbors, but it seldom comes to the point of racial slurs and gang warfare.
This movie, however, does do a good job of showing the unstable nature of the Brooklyn community in the 80’s. The cultural groups are clearly delineated and segregated seemingly by choice, and no one group can seem to peacefully coexist with the other. Mookie presents an interesting character because he seems to be the only one who gets close to being able to interact with more than just his own group. His job as a pizza delivery man allows him access into the different cultural groups of the neighborhood, mainly the Italian-American group, as noted by his friendship with Vito.
Though the movie is only halfway done, I predict that there will be some huge culminating event that will cause the tension between the groups to come to a head, and I’m sure that there can be nothing good to come from it. That being said, I’m sure it will be interesting!
Being born and raised in Brooklyn, Do the Right Thing offers me a nostalgic yet sad view of the place I call home. All the various cultures are what defines Brooklyn as one of the most unique and interesting boroughs in NYC, but the hatred and prejudices between these cultures is the dark shadow that used to predominantly haunt Brooklyn. Now, although racism and prejudice is not completely extinct, it is less profound and rarely results in such strong strong hatred and violence. The most interesting relationship to me in Do the Right Thing, is the relationship between Mookie and Vito. Although they are culturally different, Mookie and Vito are friends and accept each other without prejudice. Mookie and Vito’s friendship to me, stands for the possibility of cultures mixing and growing in “love” instead of opposing each other in “hate.” On the other hand Pino and Buggin Out stand for extremes from both cultures, where they like certain parts about the others culture, but can never fully accept each other due to prejudices. Do the Right Thing seems to be an exposition of the biggest cultural problem in the world at that time, and is simply calling for people to give up their unfounded prejudices and accept each other as equals.