‘BlacKkKlansman’ a Melting Pot of American Values, Humiliating History
“BlacKkKlansman” is a film based off a true narrative, one that is moving, comical and witty all in one go. It focuses on the life of Ron Stallworth, played by John David Washington, the first black man to be on the Colorado Springs Police force, and also the first black male to ultimately trick the KKK and David Duke in order to get intel on the organization and its operations.
Ron uses his voice over the phone and then is given permission by the captain to pursue an in ltration operation pitching the idea using phrases like “with the right white man, we can do anything,” when talking about getting fellow cop, Flip Zimmerman, played by Adam Driver, to “play” himself in person.
There are moments of humor and comic relief in the film, quick witted and well placed, particularly present when Ron says “God bless white America,” as well as the language he uses when talking to David Duke on the phone (a Grand Wizard in the KKK who went on to be a Louisiana state representative).
The film also presents the issue of racism, what people faced day-to-day. Even while Ron was in the police force, his fellow officers would make snarky comments or give him a hard time, and this film does well to portray how even one’s job had its implications and separations due to one’s skin color.
At times, the film can make its viewers uncomfortable, but that is exactly the purpose. The lm should do that. It isn’t meant to show intense events and situations as “glamorous”, and the portrayals given reflect the deep, dark, and underlying values that came with an unexplainable amount of hatred that has no logic behind it.
One part that may make the viewers uncomfortable is the language that the Klansmen use, the vulgarity of it and how the jabs are thrown, but that’s precisely how people spoke and how some still do today. The lm also ties into context the type of racism from the past that can still be seen today, for example, using scenes from the Charlottesville, Virginia, riots last year in August.
A really effective moment in the film is at the end where clips show the white nationalists grouping up, and the tension between them. The film also brings in videos from various riots, various fights, and injustices past and present. It is remarkably well crafted and directed by Spike Lee, truly making the viewer take a moment of silence at the end to get fully composed.