12 Must-Watch Documentaries And Movies To Educate Yourself About Racism

With black people 10-times more likely to be stopped and searched by police (1), almost twice less likely to own their own home (1) and having the highest unemployment rate out of all the ethnic groups (1) – it’s not okay to sit back and pretend nothing is happening.

This month, we have collectively decided not to bury our heads any longer. Now is the time to educate ourselves about racial injustices in our society. The more we understand racism, the more we can use our privilege to dismantle it.

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Here are 12 documentaries and movies you can watch right now to educate yourself about racism.

  1. Black and Scottish

Racism is not just an American issue, as this BBC watch proves.

Featuring the likes of Ncuti Gatwa and other prominent Black Scots, this short documentary sees film-maker Stewart Kyasimire ask, ‘What does it really mean to be Black and Scottish?’

An important look into Black British identity, no matter where you live.


2. 13th

This Emmy award-winning documentary from Ava DuVernay (Selma, When They See Us) explores the inequality of the US prison system, where Black prisoners are hugely over-represented.

While the film is named after the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery throughout the United States in 1865, DuVernay argues that slavery has taken on a new form with the mass incarceration of Black people.

WATCH NOW – Netflix

3. Blacks’ Britannica

Made in 1978 by WGBH Boston, and never broadcast in this country, Blacks’ Britannica looks at the black British diaspora’s response to racism in Britain.

Presented from a black working-class perspective, the film offers up an analysis of racism within the context of British history and the post-war crisis of the British economy.

WATCH NOW –  YouTube

4. Hidden figures

Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Theodore Melfi and written by Melfi and Allison Schroeder. It is loosely based on the 2016 non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly about African American female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race.

WATCH NOW – Amazon Prime

5. When they see us

Based on events of April 19, 1989, Central Park jogger case and explores the lives of the five suspects who were prosecuted on charges related to the sexual assault of a female victim, and of their families.

WATCH NOW – Netflix

6. After Windrush

Paulette Wilson moved from Jamaica to the UK in 1968, aged 10, to live with her grandparents. After decades raising a family, working and building a life in the UK, she received a letter from the British government classifying her as an illegal immigrant facing deportation.

Just one of the many victims of the Windrush scandal, which broke in 2018 after years of ‘hostile environment’ policies, Wilson’s story resonated with Executive Producer Shanida Scotland, whose grandfather was part of the Windrush generation.

In After Windrush, we follow Paulette Wilson as she returns to Jamaica for the first time in 50 years, trying to make sense of her place in the world and rebuild a sense of security and belonging.

WATCH NOW – The Guardian

7. From slavery to Windrush: My family’s story

Continuing the exploration of the aftermath of the Windrush scandal, in this BBC short film, Amanda Kirton journeys from Britain to Jamaica, exploring her own family’s past and the history of the two islands. 


8. Selma

Selma tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated in the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama that galvanized American public opinion and persuaded President Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

WATCH NOW – Amazon Prime

9. Justice for Joy

Justice for Joy looks at the events that led to the 40-year-old mature student’s death following an immigration raid at her home in Crouch End.

This Channel 4 production follows the public campaign that led to a manslaughter trial at the Old Bailey, and traces the effects on Britain’s black community of the acquittal of three policemen. 


10. BlacKkKlansman

Ron Stallworth is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman, into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organisation aims to sanitise its rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.

WATCH NOW – Netflix

11. The death and life of Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified “transvestite and drag queen” who used she/her pronouns. She was also a key player in the 1969 Stonewall uprising. Though her untimely death was initially ruled a suicide, this documentary sees activist Victoria Cruz try to find justice for her friend.

WATCH NOW – Netflix

12. Malcolm x

A tribute to the controversial black activist and leader of the struggle for black liberation. He hit bottom during his imprisonment in the ’50s, he became a Black Muslim and then a leader in the Nation of Islam. His assassination in 1965 left a legacy of self-determination and racial pride.

WATCH NOW – Amazon Prime

What movies have you found most insightful about race and gender in these times? Please come over and introduce yourself and share your personal favourites in our Power Circles

(1) https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/work-pay-and-benefits/unemployment-and-economic-inactivity/unemployment/latest