A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
It offers civics lessons about the U.S. Constitution, the 14th Amendment, and American history as it relates to defining U.S. citizenship, and the rights to all U.S. citizens to due process and equal protections under the law. Specific constitutional issues surrounding slavery, African Americans, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ issues, etc. are addressed, as well as some key historical figures associated with them.
It offers objective facts about the Constitution, the 14th Amendment, and other historical details, but the overall series broadly approaches the subject from a liberal point of view. It underscores the importance of the 14th Amendment to American democracy, and supports its application to all people, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, immigration status, etc.
Positive Role Models
It discusses key individuals who have fought to ensure equal rights for all, including Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Donald Trump is featured as a negative figure.
Violence & Scariness
Readings describe violence being committed against African Americans throughout history up until the present day. Archival photographs show images of people who were shot, lynched, burned alive, etc. Archive footage features violent protests, shootings, and other disturbing content, including Klu Klux Klan activities. Images of a mass shooter prior to murdering people are also shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
While it’s not sexual in nature, legal issues relating to sodomy laws, same-sex marriage, and reproductive rights are discussed.
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Words like "hell," and occasional curses like "f--k" and the "N" word are audible in performed readings and film footage. These are shown in specific contexts.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Amend: The Fight For America is a limited multimedia series about of the history of the 14th Amendment, the resistance to it, and the impact it has had on oppressed groups. There's some cursing ("f--k," "hell"), and the "N" word is audible. Archival photographs, film excerpts, and news imagery featuring graphic violent images of assaults and arrests, lynchings, protests, hate speech, the KKK, and immigrant children in cages are featured, but all of this is offered in an informative context. Sodomy laws, same-sex marriage, and reproductive rights are also discussed. There's a lot to be learned from the series, but the strong content makes it better suited to older viewers.
Is It Any Good?
This outstanding limited series is an upbeat, creative, and informative civics lesson about one of the most reinterpreted Constitutional amendments in U.S. history. It introduces the fact that the U.S. Constitution is a document of ideals, and because of this, fails to concretely define what being a U.S. citizen means. It examines the amendment itself, which guarantees citizenship to those born and naturalized in the U.S., and due process and equal protections under federal law. Each installment illustrates how, after the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, the constitutional ambiguities about citizenship, and the Amendment's failure to specifically address discrimination, has had far-reaching implications. Those include controversial state legislation, the massive efforts to pass federal laws like the Civil Right's Act of 1964 and the failed Equal Rights Amendment, and Supreme Court cases that continue to identify and redefine the rights of oppressed people within the United States.
While decidedly left-leaning, Amend does a good job of presenting constitutional history, and illustrates how the United States has adapted, and resisted, the provisions of the 14th Amendment for over a century. It discusses contemporary issues -- including systematic racism, abortion rights, same-sex marriage, immigration, and the treatment of non-citizens -- through this lens. This creates the space to effectively showcase the country's on-going negotiation of who the 14th Amendment was intended to protect in multiple ways. To its credit, the series also highlights the unique complexities that have become part of this negotiation, especially for individuals who hold two or more oppressed identities (such as Black transgender women). Overall, Amend: The Fight For America isn't just about the 14th Amendment, but about the fact that the fight for progress isn't easy, but must continue in order to protect American democracy.
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