Netflix has done it again! With its new original series “When They See Us”, Netflix takes a close look into the 1989 Central Park rape case that changed history forever. Five young, minority men were tried and wrongfully convicted of the rape of a 28 year-old, WHITE female who was last seen jogging in the park around 9:30 pm. These “men” ranged between the ages of 13 and 16 years old. These men spent between six-12 years in prison before the true rapist revealed his involvement in the crime.
The filmmaker and director of this film, Ava DuVernay, did an immaculate job at enlightening the issues and injustices of the criminal justice system, that unfortunately are still going on today. Many men are being wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit in the intent to meet quotas as well as dismiss or “close” high profile cases. The criminal justice system uses racial bias, stereotyping, and discrimination to inflict these injustices which ultimately trumps the need to truly deliver justice for victims of crimes. This is depicted through the portrayal of Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor or shall I say PERsecutor of these young men. In the words of Charlemagne Tha God who identified Linda as “donkey of the day” on his morning show “The Breakfast Club”, “Her hatred for black people trumped her loyalty to her own gender.”
This film has been very controversial but is a conversation that needs to be had. This is only the beginning but we must pay tribute to Netflix for its powerful representation of these strong men who overcame such adversity and for those who continue to fight for true justice.