The Horror of “When They See Us”

“When They See Us,” Ava DuVernay’s Netflix limited series about the wrongly-accused Central Park Five is a horror show, not because the graphic depiction of violence five Black and Latino boys — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise — suffer at the hands of the New York district attorneys and the NYPD, or because these then boys were robbed of their youth and innocence by a broken and corrupt criminal (in)justice system, or because of the anguish five families endured due to no reason of their own. No. The horror of “When They See Us” is that the very acts of abject racism perpetrated against McCray, Richardson, Salaam, Santana, and Wise in DuVernay’s masterpiece continue to occur with impunity in these United States some thirty years later.