America is built on blood and skin. We don’t seem to have much trouble accepting the former (violence has and will always have a place in our nation), but the same can’t be said for the latter. As far as my American history education goes, my classes covered the essential facts about slavery and the Civil Rights movement and then skimmed over other race-centered topics like the Trail of Tears, the Mexican Repatriation, the internment of Japanese Americans, and so on. Sure, certain college courses delve into those, but there remains this impression that we Americans in general are ignorant of or simply don’t like to talk about how prominent of a role racism plays in our nation’s history. Couple that with the news of racism popping up on a daily basis now, and it’s clear that we must confront this ugly reality head-on by acknowledging it, educating ourselves, listening empathically, and actively amending where need be. Cinema can play a role in these processes, particularly when it comes to portraying events or people that we know little (if any) about. That’s where director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, the team behind The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, come in. Their latest venture Detroit, which tackles the Algiers Motel incident during the 1967 Detroit Riot (take a moment to ask yourself if you ever heard of it), is a bit narratively unbalanced and emotionally stunted, but there’s no denying its immersion and intensity.