Racism is not a dead issue, and Banished is one of many documentaries that reminds people that it is not. This film focuses on the stories of several black families who try to trace their family roots back to their former family homes before their grandparents and/or great grandparents were run out of certain towns. The families found out that legal records could not justify the current ownership. One man tried to have his relative dug up to be given a proper burial, and upon requesting for the city to cover the burial costs, the city refused and tried to charge the man with stealing from the city.
While there are interesting parts to this documentary, it proves one of the classic flaws in many such films: too preachy. Michael Moore successfully ruined the documentary-director voiceover narration, and this film, like Moore’s, falls prey to the same awkward feel that leaves no room for dialogue. But this film does make incredibly sound points. In the hometown of the main leaders of the KKK, many people try to blame the KKK for creating a high image of racism. But the people do not want to admit that the KKK feels comfortable in this city for a reason. While some may argue that retribution for slavery is a dead issue, this film shows that it is not. The families interviewed in this film are not asking for reparations from slavery time but from 60 years ago. These are easily documented wrongs that only extreme denial can avoid. And the white people of the cities in this film do deny their responsibility.