Documentary films are a powerful tool in spotlighting and drawing attention to social issues and problems. 13TH is a title to Ava Du Vernay’s 2016 documentary that focuses on the exploitation of the lope holes on the thirteenth amendment of America’s constitution by some able group to drive racism and discrimination on some races to some extent to profit some individuals.
The documentary argues that the long abolished slavery is in the modern day society being extended in the form of mass incarceration. It investigates with statistics and interviews with notable experts and activists, America’s mass incarceration issue connecting it to the 13th amendment and lays out right from history to today the racism, mistreatment, and criminalization of especially the Black community. Ava states that the documentary lines up everything to give the issue a better view of the issues mentioned.
The documentary puts across the point of society’s inequalities and racism against the blacks by the whites. By lying out from old times the history of racism and discrimination, it describes how the modern white government rigs in policies to oppress the blacks community to their favor. The theme connects well with the sociological conflict theory where an unequal system is created powers to expand given to the wealthy, or those branded as supreme. This way, society rules are formulated to favor the privileged that does anything to stay on top. It’s is this group that decides what is criminal and what it is not.
From the 13th amendment, a conflict theorist would note how a clause has been used to incarcerate lots of people some without even going to trial and most of them taken to private jails that are associated with the individuals that crafted the amendment in the first place. This situation leaves the powerless suffering from such injustice decisions.
The points raised in the documentary despite having to go far back in time, are valid. Even though society class difference cannot be hidden, a modern society that seeks to exploit others on the bases of race, status to benefit them is itself stuck in old age. There cannot be different democracy and justice for each group or society level status. The majority of the black community besides their race fall into a social group that is prone to becoming victims of law exploiters. The team responsible for the amendment having noted the loophole or if it was deliberately left that way with an agenda, should go ahead and fill the gaps so that anyone from any group living in the United States doesn’t feel targeted by law that is supposed to be protecting them.
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