Compared to the other movies we’ve watched thus far, Inside Job seems only tangentially related to issues of race and racism in America. Of course, this is not quite true. Inside Job is a Spike Lee film, after all. But Lee’s discussion of race is much more subtle. It does not take center stage. Instead, race comes up in the small interactions, away from the gunfire and the guns. It occurs, for instance, during interactions between the white Ms. White and the black Detective Frazier, in which Ms. White threatens Frazier’s job and reputation, and Frazier responds by telling Ms. White to “kiss my black ass.” Racism also rears its head when there is a Seikh who is automatically considered more suspicious because of the turban he wears.
In particular, however, I’m interested in the black-on-black violence portrayed in the young boy’s video game. The video game–called “Bulletproof”–was released in 2005 by 50 Cent. The video game graphics reminded me of the graphics in the animated cartoon of the minstrelsy show in Bamboozled, though the video game graphics were more obviously sinister. Adding to the sinisterness of the video game was its user: a young boy who is clearly influenced by the game, evidenced by the boy’s awe of the bank robber and his crime.
Thus I think that, even in this short clip, Lee forms a meaningful critique of aspects of black culture (though of course the creation and use of violent video games is not limited to African Americans). It is in these digressions from the main action of the film that Lee shines and in these digressions that the audience is reminded that yes, this IS a Spike Lee film.