The Historian: 25 Years After Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing

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By Spencer. Brooklyn, New York and Ferguson, Missouri are 950 miles apart — but it’s a trip that takes 25 years. In the quarter century since Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing premiered in theaters, it feels like we’ve come such a great distance. Today, in Brooklyn, you don’t find race riots or policy brutality; you find hipsters and organic markets. Hip-hop is as common in suburbia as it is in the streets. Public Enemy, whose “Fight The Power” gave the the movie its soundtrack and its soul, is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Even our choice of president, a man of both black and white heritage, seems to suggest that whatever the racial animosities Spike Lee exposed back in 1989, we’ve long since learned how to get along.

Yet the events in Ferguson last week can’t help but deflate that kind of confidence. Continue reading