The movie Do the Right Thing, a group of people in the district of Brooklyn, have had enough and tensions are growing in this black ghetto area. The only local businesses are a Korean grocery and Sal’s Pizzeria. Mookie, Sal’s delivery boy, manages to always be at the center of the action.
The movie Do the Right Thing is a movie about a neighborhood that suffers from lack of diversity. On a hot day, these tensions boil over and every thing race, hatred, and envy comes out. It all starts with Spike Lee working in Sals pizzeria. He is the only one of his friends to have a job. He works in the pizza parlor as a delivery boy along with the owner, Sal, and his two sons. The movie goes on and these teenager face the everyday struggle of being black in a society that does not care much about blacks who live in poor neighborhoods. And on a day where these blacks have had enough and finally decide to take a stand, they revolt against the wrong non-blacks. They revolt against the two local businesses, a Korean grocery store, and Sals pizzeria, they rely on the most. The revolt ends with one of the teenagers being killed, and a bad neighborhood gone worse. An important character in the movie is Mookie, who is played by Spike Lee. Spike Lees life revolves around money. The ironic thing about the whole situation is he does not make nearly enough of money to support his son and his girlfriend because he is still living in his moms house. He always talks about money, but he does not make enough to support his son, and his own needs. This problem lies with a lot of young men this age. They feel as long as they have a steady job, no matter the pay, they feel as if they are sufficed. Spike Lee lives his life day-to-day, not at all planning for the future. He feels that as long as he has a hundred dollars in his pocket that he is fine. But he never thinks to save any of his money in case of any emergencies. Having money does not necessarily mean that a person will be happy or be able to live their life to the fullest. Spike Lee believes that as long as he has some money on him that he will achieve happiness. Spike Lee also uses his money as power. Living in a small, impoverished neighborhood, Spike Lee has power over all his friends who do not have jobs and do not have as much money as he does. What Spike Lee fails to realize is that every person is different, and even though it is nice to have money, people have different priorities in life. Some people need money to stay alive, and others do not need it at all. Spike Lee needs money to stay alive, because he has to take care of his son. Most of his friends do not need money like he does because they do not have obligations such as a child. Because Spike Lee lives in an enclosed world where the only thing that he understands is that without money, a person can not exist. Which is true, but when money is the only thing a person lives for, as is the case with Spike Lee, then that type of person can not exist either. Spike Lee lives the life many young men choose to live. His surroundings and his friends also do not positively influence his decisions.
Spike Lee grows up in New York City and is the subject of much oppression. He grows up in a place where young blacks are constantly harassed by the police and are subject to a great deal of racism. The only business around is the local grocery store owned by Koreans, who do not take kindly of the local children. Also, there is Sals Pizzeria, where Spike Lee works. Italians run this place. The local African Americans have no stores run by fellow African Americans, therefore, the money that they spend at these fine establishments will not stay in the neighborhood. In other words, their money will not come back to benefit them in no way. As a result, he can not go into a store without people constantly worrying about him and his friends stealing something. This is one reason why he is always flaunting his money to everyone. He must show society that he does not have to steal from it to make a living. It is a shame that people must think this way. This is how Spike Lee thinks, and he feels as if the world is out to get him. The environment is the main reason why Spike lee and his friends act and think the way they do.
Another important character in the movie is Radio Raheem. He is the stereotypical black criminal. He is very big and muscular, tall, and strong. He strikes fear into the hearts of many people who do not know him. He constantly walks around with his radio playing really loud. The song that is always playing on his radio is Fight the Power, which is symbolic. This song explains how Radio Raheem feels every time he passes someone and they automatically categorize him as a criminal. As a result, he wears two rings, one on each hand. One ring says LOVE written across his hand the on the other the word HATE. Love is on the right hand showing people that that is what is morally right. Hate is on the left hand showing people that that it is morally wrong to hate. But in life, it is all switched around. People would rather hate someone before loving him or her, and Radio Raheem is a victim of that. People assume that because he is big, black and carries his radio around with him all the time that he is a bad person, and they never really take the time out to get to know him as a person. Spike Lee does and he realizes that Radio Raheem is not a bad person. This is also seen at the end of the movie when the police kill Radio Raheem. He is an innocent bystander to the whole situation but yet the police pick him out of the crowd and decide to assault him because they say he looks the most dangerous. They ultimately end up killing him, when he did nothing at all to resist arrest. Radio Raheem was a victim of something he had no control over. Because of his skin color and his build other people forever saw him as wrong.
Another person who meant well but people saw as bad was Sal. Sal just like Radio Raheem had no control over what ultimately led to his downfall; his skin color. Sal owned the local pizza parlor and even though he was Italian he did not mind at all working in an inner city, poor, black neighborhood. He knew this was a risk, but everyone in the neighborhood seemed to like him because he never did anything wrong and he never did anything to upset the local people. Sal enjoyed working where he worked and doing what he did. There were several instances in the movie where his sons would ask him why he would not move the parlor to a better neighborhood, and Sal would tell them that he liked being where he was. Sal also knew that even though he had no problems with the people that there was always going to be a difference between people in the neighborhood and himself. Therefore, he did a brilliant thing and hired Spike Lee. He knew that if something went wrong and someone came in the store trying to cause problems that Spike Lee might be better off handling the situation because there is they have something in common. That difference led to the burning down and vandalism of Sals pizza parlor. Because when Spike Lee finally realized that he was being used as this problem solver, he did not like it, and he ended up starting the riot of Sals pizzeria.
The underlying theme of the movie is that the world is very diverse. If people do not start to learn to accept other peoples diverse ways and living then the world is going to be a very hard place to live in. This neighborhood struggled to survive because these diversities and societys bigotry became unbearable for these people. And because society is unfair they automatically assumed that everyone not of the same race of them is unfair. And Sal became a victim of this because he had plenty of chances to move his store from the neighborhood because he felt that he was doing something good for the neighborhood. He did not realize that the constant verbal abuse from the police and physical and mental abuse from society began to take its toll, and the people needed someone to blame it on, and since Sal and the Koreans were the only non black businesses close by, they got the brunt of the violence.