Detroit Is Not a Movie

‘Detroit’ is a case study of the limits of the white gaze.

Still from the movie Detroit.
Photo Credit: Screenshot / YouTube

Are you thinking of seeing Kathryn Bigelow’s movie Detroit? Don’t.

Read John Hersey’s book The Algiers Motel Incident instead. It is one of the most remarkable books about race ever written by a white man. And it’s as accurate an account of the massacre at the Algiers Motel as currently exists.

Oh, never mind. By all means, see the movie if the marketing campaign has persuaded you it’s the kind of entertainment you like. But please don’t think you are going to gain any deep insight into what happened in Detroit in 1967. Or what’s happening now. Or most importantly what you could do to reduce the destructive grip of white power on our society going forward.

Detroit, the movie version of the torture and brutal killing of teenagers Carl Cooper, Aubrey Pollard and Fred Temple in 1967, will not engender any significant criticism from the so-called alt-right or any other division of the white power structure. Neither have any previous Bigelow movies. That’s because they reinforce the prevailing white way of thinking about the perpetual U.S. wars on people of color both foreign and domestic.