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Parents' Guide to

White Riot

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Docu about British bands' fight against racism has swearing.

Movie NR 2020 80 minutes
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Both a history lesson and a timely reminder of how we live now, this is a low-budget but impeccably focused documentary about a period in British history that should not be forgotten. Giving a voice to the activists who fought against the U.K.'s fascist National Front by channeling the communal power of music, notable ska and reggae acts are rightfully presented as being equally important as the punk artists who feature. While the archive footage of racist politicians and indifferent senior police officers is unpleasant viewing, it is vital to help understand how Britain was changing by becoming multiracial and how the establishment seemed weary to engage or make sense of it.

Archive footage of white punk musicians talking about how their local communities often wanted to marginalize their own young people and stop them engaging with other cultures is important, too, as it helps White Riot expose the fundamental fear that lets racist opportunists stir up trouble and flourish -- and how these people can be stopped. All of which makes for a triumphant but cautionary tale, with a pretty good soundtrack, too.

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