Netflix announced that teachers and other in a public setting can view the controversial documentary 13th by Ava Duvernay, the director of Selma. The film’s name is a nod to the 13th Amendment, with a tag line of “From Slave to Criminal in One Amendment”. this movie like all documentaries is from the perspective of the film maker, and in this case, it has a very political and sometimes violent undertone. To me the question becomes, now that it’s available, do you want your kids to see it?
Netflix offering free classroom content sounds like a fantastic way to supplement public education, however I have some concerns about the material they’re selectively releasing.
The streamer announced public screening access for the Oscar-nominated feature that explores the historical, social and economic link between slavery and the modern-day prison system. 13th, which premiered on Netflix in October, can now be watched via the Netflix service in a public environment, including a classroom, community group or other educational setting.
According to The Hollywood Reporter this is just one of a series being offered by Netflix through an outreach program.
The educational public access is a part of Netflix’s extension of the community screening program. The program also includes the 2017 Oscar-nominated documentary shorts Extremis and The White Helmets, along with docs The Ivory Game, Winter on Fire, Audrie and Daisy and Into the Inferno.
White Helmets is the award winning documentary about the rescue efforts in Syria. The Ivory Game is a documentary about the elephant ivory trade in China. Winter on Fire tells the story of Ukraine struggle for independence. Audrie and Daisy, is a documentary about two America girls dealing with sexual assault and the aftermath. Into the Inferno is about volcanoes. 13th is a glorified prison documentary.
One of these things is not like the others. So why is 13th is being made available to teachers? Fear of “This moment in time”, according to a Netflix VP…this doesn’t sound biased at all.
The documentary explores prison life, social justice reform, Black Lives Matter and features interviews with all the usual cable news agitators. How is this not propaganda?
“Communities across the country are feeling the full weight of this particularly divisive moment in time. And, when some are capitalizing on this fear, we are especially inspired by the next generation, who are able to acknowledge the complex system they have inherited while simultaneously vowing to change it. Like DuVernay, they understand that we must come face to face with our past before we can fix our future.”
Who determines whether or not this will be added to your child’s curriculum? Is this something that is appropriate for kids under 17? Take a look at the trailer for 13th… then tell me if it’s suitable for minors of any political persuasion.
I’m not trying to look a gift Netflix in the face, but is this movie, something you want your kids to see? Will the teachers send home a note for your permission? Do they need it? These are the times it’s important to have a relationship with your kid’s teachers and schools.