Netflix has just been hitting it out of the park lately; they’ve been producing quality content consistently for the past couple of months and their recent documentary “13th” is just another notch in their belt. This documentary takes a look at the history of the prison system in America and how it has been unfairly targeting people of color ever since the 13th amendment was instated in 1865. I won’t ruin the documentary but, I will say that the information provided really opens your eyes to the way the Prison Industrial Complex is run and how so many different companies and government organizations benefit from keeping jails around the country filled.
The only thing I will say that I disliked about it is that it did not provide the perspective of the prisoners who are actually inside the system facing these brutalities. I mean, I understand that there are enough television shows and specials that focus on these men and women but, I think it also would have helped drive the point home a little harder. The people they talked to were a diverse selection of both famous and lesser-known activists, educators, and politicians that each provide a variety of perspectives all with the same goal of leaving the viewers eyes a bit more open to this horrible system that a large part of this country has been founded upon. Also, to all my Black brothers and sisters out there who have yet to watch this, you absolutely should. However, I would advise you not to watch it on a day before you have to be around a large number of Caucasian people. No spoilers but, they draw a lot of parallels to the way Black people were treated back during our fight for Civil rights and the way we are treated now. The way that they present it makes it a very powerful experience that will make you feel a number of emotions after it’s over.
All in all, 13th was very well done and, while some can say it has symptoms of propaganda hidden within it, the overall message that it wanted to deliver is heard loud and clear. I hope that documentaries like this become a regular part of the Netflix lineup and that they continue to tackle hard-hitting issues in a way that gives a well-informed look into systems and structures that the general public knows very little about.