Eight movies white people should watch right now

Brad Keefe
Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx in "Just Mercy"

Are you a white person who doesn’t consider yourself racist, but are still confused by the images you’re seeing across the nation right now?

Have you ever used the phrase “all lives matter” and thought you were being more inclusive?

Understanding the lived-in experiences of the black community may be hard and confusing for you, but here are some movies you can watch that might help.


This documentary from director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) examining the disproportionate imprisonment of black citizens is where you should start. This movie should be shown in every classroom in America. Available on Netflix.

“Just Mercy” 

Based on the true story of Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, “Just Mercy” chronicles Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan) in his efforts to overturn a death penalty case for a wrongly convicted man (Jamie Foxx). For the month of June, it’s available as a free rental on most VOD platforms.

“Whose Streets?”

Told by the activists and leaders of the Ferguson protests of 2016, this may help you gain some perspective on the power of protest and uprising and the Black Lives Matter movement itself. The only thing more timely is what’s on the news right now. Available on Hulu.

“I Am Not Your Negro”

An expansion of an unfinished manuscript by author James Baldwin, this is a vital history lesson on race in America, the Civil Rights movement and modern racism. Available on Prime Video.

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

Director Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) adapted one of Baldwin’s novels in this beautiful and moving love story set in 1970s Harlem as a couple navigates a backdrop of racial bias. Available on Hulu. 

“Sorry To Bother You”

Writer-director Boots Riley adapt his concept rap opera into one of the weirdest and wildest dark comedies of the past decade with takes on both racial bias and class warfare. Only for the adventurous, but available on Hulu.

“LA 92”

Pieced together from over 1,700 hours of footage, this documentary remembers the Los Angeles riots sparked by the verdict acquitting officers in the beating of Rodney King. With parallels to the 1965 Watts riots, you’ll feel like our nation is a record on repeat. Available on Netflix.

“Do the Right Thing”

Director Spike Lee’s second film remains among his best work, a personal and funny look at everyday life on a scorching day in Brooklyn as racial tensions reach a boiling point. It’s 30 years old and, again, it feels so timely. Available to rent on VOD.