AMERICAN HISTORY X

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Black people, White people Pages: 4 (1338 words) Published: May 22, 2004
American History X is a film that shows the modern struggle between blacks and whites in America. The film's focal character is Derek Vinyard. After his father is murdered in a black neighborhood, he becomes the leader of a group of young white supremacists, the DOC. After viciously murdering two black men for trying to steal his truck, he spends three years in prison. After serving his time he is a reformed man. He no longer has his racist views and wants desperately to put his old life behind him. Danny, who idolizes his older brother Derek, is going down the same path his brother went when Derek gets out of prison. Derek confronts his old friends and ultimately succeeds in getting his brother to get out of the same group that hampered his life. However, Danny has already made enemies and is killed by an inspiring member of a gang.

This movie show examples of some ideas touched upon in class. The first of these ideas is the concept of ideological racism or the belief that society looks at the physical characteristics of a person and links them to either a place of superiority or inferiority based on these characteristics. In American History X, the white supremacists viewed the African Americans as being inferior based on the color of their skin. The term "nigger", used extensively by the supremacists in this movie, is traditionally a word used to make black people feel inferior. A more concrete example is when Derek rants about black people at the dinner table. He says that black people have no idea "of community or civic responsibility". He also goes on to say that "1 in 3 black males are in some phase of the correctional system". These points show how Derek believes that black people are inferior in terms of how they behave.

This movie also has good examples of the concept discussed in class known as "the other", which means that you hate anybody other than you or people like you. A good example of this concept is when Derek and his gang are in front...
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