Radical Doubt on “Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City” Documentary

Subject: Entertainment & Media
Pages: 3
Words: 822
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College

The documentary “Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City” has sets of frameworks, which craft the message into the “unitary whole”. The documentary features conflict and consensus frameworks, which are based on dualistic narratives. Throughout the episode, the author depicts this framework in ways that deserve a keen eye. These conflicting narratives help to create a general opinion. Consensus and conflicts guide the war on guns in Baltimore. What this report intends to portray is the stigmatization of people of color hiding behind the “War on Drugs.” I intend to use radical doubt in my analysis of this documentary to grow my knowledge on this subject. Taking a doubting stance against the producers of the movie will give me an alternative yet, deeper insight into the problems in Baltimore.

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At the beginning of the documentary, the producers portray the consensus narrative through claims that the homicide rate is stable. The documentary reflects this framework through the mayor’s words that the city has grown safer as compared to what it was before. However, in reality, the conflict narrative shows that homicides among black youths are on the rise. Yet this is mostly found in environments where people of color live. This reality is presented as a conflict in the narrative. This conflicting framework portrays the negative horrors that the middle and upper classes do not face. Radical doubt will get the reader to understand the interlocking factors that seem to favor law enforcers only.

The consensus narrative is evident more where the mayor emphasizes ridding guns from the streets of Baltimore. A consensus that goes against the conflict narrative is the analysis by Ed Burn that removing guns is not causing the problems that are evident in Baltimore. The punitive measures in the documentary demonize those who are found guilty of having made such choices. This impact later marginalizes people of color both in the present and in the future. While the Baltimore mayor claims that they are overcoming the difficult times, people who come out of incarceration can only get specific jobs. They are denied health insurance, as well as public housing. The framework in the documentary suggests that those who go to jail are limited in their scope, and that is why they are restricted in their choices of work. The documentary goes on to say that the structure in place is failing to address the real issue, which is an increasing crime rate in the urban setting.

In the documentary, the consensus narrative holds that the systemic institutional issues, which the government is failing to address, maybe the root cause of the problem that Baltimore is facing. This relates its effects on the lack of power that Baltimore is not addressing. The movie tries to link the increasing incarceration of people of color to the present as a war on guns that is replacing the war on drugs. The trillion-dollar disaster has produced little and failed to curb the demand for narcotics. This has made America the biggest jailer in the work, mocking its idea of the land of freedom. The movie tries to hide the government’s responsibility for helping the community recover by building education and job movements rather than incarceration. This is the only move that can reverse the psychology that they are bringing on the poor people of color, who are constantly seen as a problem.

Furthermore, a problem emerges in the targeted incarceration of people of color. With most offenders coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, the restrictions following incarceration are making them even more disadvantaged. A societal stigma is increasing economic marginalization as states violate the rights of people of color routinely. Even those with no prior record face the negative consequences of this stigma. Mass incarceration is intersecting with various institutions and laws that place people of color in virtual cages.

While there are limits to practicing radical doubt or framing social reality through radical doubt, the message in the documentary should focus more on solving the health problem in our systems. Such documentaries should stop trying to solve this problem using criminal justice tools. The insistence on awkward policies has broken many communities and left several families bereft. Additionally, many cops and bystanders are deaf and the war is not ending any soon. Legitimizing this continuing distrust and betraying justice has only left the drugs unhurt. America pays this price for the war on drugs.

Using radical doubt gives an alternative view on what could be behind the war on drugs. While the outside picture may seem to portray a perfect war on guns, doubting the stance of the producers allows us to view the movie in a different light. Using radical doubt when analyzing “Baltimore: Anatomy of an American City” has allowed me to take a critical stance on an issue that Baltimore is facing. I must agree that it is informative and the thoughts addressed in the article deserve little attention from would-be readers.

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