Defining Something by What It Is Not in American History X
His racist cheeks are covered in tears as he is interviewed about his father’s recent death. Derek pours his emotions out to the bewildered interviewer for the local news channel expressing, “Decent hard working Americans like my dad are getting rubbed out by social parasites” and as the reporter is confused Derek responds with’ “…blacks, browns, yellow whatever”. Before his father passed away he had been shoving extremely prejudicial views into his oldest son’s mind. The killing of Derek’s father by an African American man made Derek lose all control and any respect he had for other ethnicities. These foreign thoughts and beliefs that Derek now held are all from his father’s set of myths and stories. The film “American History X” illustrates myth to exploit the results that come with it such as dehumanization and discrimination. Primarily, the concept of myth is exploited in the film. In the article, “How American Myths Are Made” by Evan Thomas and Andrew Romano the term myth is dissected and discussed in a very simple yet elegant way. “As a term, myth is much misunderstood; hearing it, many people take the word to mean ‘lie,’ when in fact a myth is a story, a narrative that explains individual or national realities-how a person or country came to be, why certain things happen in the course of a life or of history, and what fate may have in store for us” (56). Myth is a very broad word. Some people may know what it means, while others claim to know what it means. In his essay, Sam Keen explains the difference between what a myth is and what some “think” it is. He demonstrates, “Journalists usually use it to mean a ‘lie,’ ‘fabrication,’ ‘illustration,’ ‘mistake,’ or something similar. It is the opposite of what is supposedly a ‘fact,’ of what is ‘objectively,’ the case, and of what is ‘reality’’’ (6). He helps the reader understand what a myth is by defining what it is not. Telling the reader the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document