The story begins with a black and white flashback of the moment when Derek commits the murder of the two young Afro-American's. Danny wakes up to see one of the men standing by the front door but can't see whether he is armed or not. He goes to tell his brother Derek who is in bed with Stacy, his girlfriend. Derek takes a semi-automatic pistol and sees two blacks and one in the car ready for a getaway. Derek plunges out of the front door and shoots the first Afro-American several times and spots the other trying to run away. He takes aim and fires again mortally wounding the second. The car driver speeds off with Derek firing several shots at the car, emptying the magazine. In slow motion he goes back to the wounded man to finish him off and there the flashback finishes. Back in the present, we are now in the office of the headmaster of Danny's school, Dr Robert Sweeney and his tutor Mr Murray who are discussing an essay set by Mr Murray on civil rights. Danny has done his essay on 'Mein Kampf' - Hitler's ideological book that he had written while in prison in the 1920s. Mr Murray is appalled and believes Danny is like his brother - lost and unable to turn back. Dr Sweeney refuses to give up on Danny and dismisses Mr Murray's attempt to have Danny excluded from school. Dr Sweeney calls Danny in and tells him that 'Mein Kampf' is 'rubbish' and throws it into the bin threatening to expel him. Sweeney decides that he himself will be Danny's history teacher and the lessons called 'American History X'. He sets Danny an essay to be handed in the next morning in which he should analyse and interpret all the events leading to Derek's incarceration and Danny's own views of life in contemporary America. If he doesn't submit the essay Danny will be thrown out of school. Danny decides to go home and think about the essay but while in the male toilets a white teenager is being attacked by a black gang led by 'Little Henry'. Danny comes out of the cubicle and is threatened by Little Henry but Danny just responds by blowing smoke into the boy's eyes coolly. The gang departs and Danny picks up the other man telling him 'You gotta learn to stick up for yourself'. Meanwhile Dr Sweeney is going to a meeting at the LAPD about the rise of the skinhead gangs in the Venice Beach Area. Sweeney is an outreach worker with some of the gangs in and out of prison. The committee are told that Derek used to be a protégé of an older man called Cameron Alexander who the police believe is the instigator of the race attacks and skinhead gangs. He writes a lot of 'White Power' literature but the police having trouble pinning anything on Alexander. Derek was used by Alexander to recruit gangs in the area from insecure, frustrated and impressionable boys. They show an old news clipping from the local news network about the death of Danny's father who was putting out a fire at a drug den. When a young Derek is interviewed about the death he explodes into racist and right wing ideology that the reason his Father died was because he was in a 'nigger area' shot by a drugged up nigger 'who still collects his welfare payments'. Derek believes that all problems such as AIDS, immigration, drugs are all race related. Dr Sweeney explains that Derek was quietly released today and they are keeping an eye on the situation because something could happen to Derek and it would get very ugly Danny is on his way home and thinking about the changes that have occurred in Venice Beach. Their Dad had moved them to Venice Beach a long time ago because it was quiet and free of the troubles of the inner city. But now everything has changed - the gangs have spread out from the inner cities 'like a plague' taking over all the parks; whole areas are under their control. This is why Derek had started a local branch of the DOC (the Disciples of Christ) to win back areas for the whites and away from the black gangs. He remembers that Derek had challenged the blacks to a...
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