When They See Us explores systemic and institutional racism in the U.S. through the real story of the Central Park Five, five Black and Latinx youth who were falsely accused, tried, and imprisoned for the 1989 attack of a white female jogger. Their case dominated the headlines and highlighted many of central issues in American society—race, socioeconomic class, sexual violence, and media manipulation.
- How is racial bias expressed in the U.S. justice system?
- What rights does a person have when they are interrogated by police?
- How does incarceration impact individuals, families, and communities?
- In what ways does the justice system operate differently for different people, based on their race or class?
After viewing the series and engaging in discussion, students will:
- Describe the key facts and events of the Central Park Jogger case
- Examine how media can bias the public and influence the outcome of legal cases
- Analyze the role of racism and racial bias in U.S. justice system
- Understand some of the difficulties faced by the formerly incarcerated after their release from prison
NOTE: This discussion guide was created for educational purposes and has not been endorsed by Netflix, Ava DuVernay, or the production companies. All rights remain with the original copyright holders.