As Black Lives Matter protests continue, the need for education on racial injustice and the Black experience has become vital for moving forward. Tackling systemic racism is an ongoing and monumental task, but one practical way to start is through the content we read and the films we watch.
With the help of Kelli Fuery, Ph.D., professor of film studies at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and her colleagues, and Leatherby Libraries we have compiled a list of suggested films and readings that explore racial injustice and help contextualize the current moment.
The suggested films listed below are curated by Fuery and her colleagues, while the books and articles are borrowed from the new Research and Study Guide dedicated to Black Lives Matter topics recently published by the Leatherby Libraries. Browse through the full Research and Study Guide dedicated to Black Lives Matter topics, curated by Africana Studies subject librarian Margaret Puentes.
- “Get Out” by Jordan Peele
A psychological thriller that explores a more covert kind of racism, it follows a Black man’s experience visiting his white girlfriend’s family for the first time.
- “Pariah” by Dee Rees
Merging the traditional coming-of-age story with a coming-out story, “Pariah” documents life for a teenage girl who happens to be Black and gay.
- “Dear White People” by Justin Simien ’05
Justin Simien’s breakthrough feature film is a comedy-drama that chronicles the experiences of Black students at a predominantly white university and the racial tensions that ensue.
- “Queen & Slim” by Melina Matsoukas
A routine traffic stop turns deadly. Suddenly, a Black couple finds themselves on the run.
- “13th” by Ava DuVernay
The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ruled slavery of any kind unlawful. DuVernay’s acclaimed documentary explores a loophole in the constitution that destabilizes the claim of freedom and justice.
- “BlacKkKlansman,” by Spike Lee
In a humorous but poignant manner, Lee’s film follows an African-American police detective as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan.
- “Higher Learning” by John Singleton
Singleton’s film follows a group of freshmen students as they confront the personal, racial and political prejudices that run rampant in their college campus.
- “When They See Us” by Ava DuVernay
This miniseries is based on the true story of the Central Park 5 – five teens falsely convicted of sexual assault.
- “Blindspotting” by Carlos Lopez Estrada ’12
For two friends in a gentrifying city, racism, police brutality and crime are alive and well. This comedic drama grapples with these themes in entertaining but insightful ways.
- “The Hate U Give” by George Tillman Jr.
Based on Angie Thomas’ 2017 novel of the same name, the film follows a Black teenager, as she finds herself vacillating between her predominantly Black neighborhood and the privileged world of her private school across town. Code-switching, racism and police brutality are among the film’s many themes.
To find more books and eBooks on this topic, search the Library catalog using Library of Congress subject terms:
Suggested Journal Articles
- Anti-racism or antiracism
- Black Lives Matter
- Civil rights
- Race relations
- Racial profiling
- Police brutality
- Police-community relations
Subject Specific Databases