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Joshua Gomez
Joshua Gomez

Do The Right Thing


An open question near the end of the film is whether Mookie "does the right thing" by throwing the garbage can through the window, inciting the riot that destroys Sal's pizzeria. Some critics have interpreted Mookie's action as one that saves Sal's life by redirecting the crowd's anger away from Sal to his property, while others say that it was an "irresponsible encouragement to enact violence".[30] The quotations by two major Black leaders used at the end of the film provide no answers: one advocates nonviolence, the other advocates armed self-defense in response to oppression.[30]




Do the Right Thing



Spike Lee has remarked that only White viewers ask him if Mookie did the right thing; Black viewers do not ask him the question.[31] Lee believes the key point is that Mookie was angry at the wrongful death of Radio Raheem, stating that viewers who question the riot are explicitly failing to see the difference between property damage and the death of a Black man.[28]


Radio Raheem: Let me tell you the story of Right Hand, Left Hand. It's a tale of good and evil. Hate: it was with this hand that Cain iced his brother. Love: these five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love, is finished. But hold on, stop the presses, the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that's right. Ooh, it's a devastating right and Hate is hurt, he's down. Left-Hand Hate KOed by Love.


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The thing is, there are no answers. There may be heroes and villains, but on this ordinary street in Brooklyn they don't conveniently turn up wearing labels. You can anticipate, step by step, during a long, hot summer day, that trash can approaching Sal's window, propelled by misunderstandings, suspicions, insecurities, stereotyping and simple bad luck. Racism is so deeply ingrained in our society that the disease itself creates mischief, while most blacks and whites alike are only onlookers.


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Distinctive, memorable characters and a highly original structure contribute to the powerful experience of DO THE RIGHT THING. Spike Lee uses vibrant music, unusual close-ups, bright colors, an abundance of "street language," and breaking the fourth wall (characters speaking directly into the camera) to bring the viewer right into the community of Bedford-Stuyvesant on a simmering, seething day. Lee and his brilliant actors, working from his own dynamic screenplay, create that world exactly as it might have been in the late 1980s (or might still be). He offers no judgments on what takes place and, as a result, the viewer must come to his or her own conclusions. The movie is stark, perhaps insightful, and often very poignant.


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In fact, our PVPs have inspired many employees to join and stay at P&G for their entire careers, including Steve Bishop, CEO of our Health Care business. Here he recounts how the commitment to do the right thing he saw in the people he met during his initial interview with P&G influenced his choice to join the company.


I suppose (or at least hope) that we all want to do the right thing but how do we decide what the right thing really is? We likely all have at least some vague principles that we follow to guide our decision making such as being honest, kind to others (or at least polite), and not stealing. Maybe our ethical principles can be well summarized by the Golden Rule (i.e., treat others as you wish to be treated). It sounds pretty good and reasonable too. Additionally, the Golden Rule is well articulated in all of the major religious traditions in one way or another according to the well known author, Karen Armstrong, in her book, The Great Transformation. However, as with most things, deciding what the right thing is tends to be more complicated than it might appear at first glance.


Each of these approaches has their limits as well as their advantages and disadvantages in any given situation. However, they provide us with a structure and framework for considering different approaches to figuring out what the right thing might be.


Watkins didn't have to raise concerns over Enron's fraudulent accounting practices. After all, she likely made six figures in her executive role at one of the world's largest energy companies. However, unlike many of Watkins' former colleagues, she was driven by morality. She knew that unveiling Enron's corruption could cost her job and reputation and even prevent her from attaining future employment. But at the end of the day, Watkins testified that there's "no hiding from God." In other words, it was her own personal beliefs that prompted her to become a whistleblower. But no matter your secular or non-secular beliefs, Watkins abided by a golden rule: "do the right thing, always."


No amount of money or professional success is worth your integrity. Watkins blew the whistle on Enron not because someone forced her but because she knew it was the right thing to do. In the example above, the CFO promoted the most experienced accounting manager to CAO because he held his morals high, even though it meant potentially damaging his friendship with Jim. At the end of the day, you should do the right thing all the time, not just part of the time. When you do the right thing, there are no regrets or excuses.


Copyright 2020 Lemmen, Keizer, Bouman and Steg. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. 041b061a72


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