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Discrimination is present in many elements of the film's construction. Most of it comes from the institutional configuration in which a woman like Dee Roberts experiences a great deal of unfairness. Initially, the military style drug raid on her housing project reflects a sense of discrimination. It is with the bias in which the law enforcement machinery can easily operate with a sense of wanton brazenness in picking up so many people with little probable cause or clear evidence. There is no real evidence to detain Dee. It is out of discrimination, a mentality that "bad people live there," that enables law enforcement to operate in a manner that reflects discrimination. At the same time, the legal process in which Dee fights is one where discrimination is also present. The District Attorney, Calvin Beckett, is shown to be an individual who does not let discrimination and racism appear as overt. Rather, he displays it in covert manners, reflecting that there is a discrimination element present in the prosecution of Dee. The convergence of a legal system and a law enforcement system steeped in discrimination becomes an essential part of the film's narrative.
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