Netflix Diaries: The 13th

We are products of the history our ancestors chose. 


Normally when I do these Netflix recs it’s for something funny and light or romantic or creepy, but this recommendation is going to be a little different because this film is something that needs to be seen. With all of the talk surrounding Birth of a Nation and supporting black films I wanted to highlight a film that is actually deserving of support and accolades. I have no intention of ever seeing BOAN not only because Nate Parker makes my skin crawl, but also because I have no interest in it. The 13th on the other hand is something I knew I wanted to support from the minute I saw it. In case you are unsure what The 13th is…

It is about the 13th amendment which abolished slavery, but also contained a clause within it that created a loophole and spawned polices that we are still facing the consequences of today.  It reads:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”

Because of the line that allows slavery as punishment for crime when slaves were freed and the southern economy tanked blacks began getting arrested for petty crimes which in turn allowed them to be made into slaves legally. The documentary looks at this amendment and the practices and policies created because of it and how they have morphed and evolved with each new generation to create the system we have now. It’s both fascinating and terrifying to see how engrained these ideas are in our society and how much damage they have done not just to our justice system but also to entire communities. I highly recommend this documentary because it delivers a very important message in a beautifully powerful way.

I hope you’ll check it out.


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