American History X: Racism

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American History X is arguably the best film addressing the existence of racism in the most straight forward manner. The interesting thing about this film is the way in which the subject is treated. First of all, it is obvious that, though racism is always a difficult subject to deal with, American History X presents it without any reservations. White privilege is the basis of the movie and it also, Secures its dominance by seeming not to be anything in particular. As the unmarked category against which difference is constructed, whiteness never has to speak its name, never had to acknowledge its role as an organizing principle in society and cultural relations (Lipsitz 201). What makes Derek such a powerful and frightening character is not the fact that he is racist, but that he is a well-spoken and bright individual. Many would say that the personalityof his character shows that he is dealing with his own white privilege. The movie takes a turn when Derek ends up in jail and is raped for his actions in jail by fellow white inmates. However, particular qualities allow him to recruit the youths of Venice Beach and form, with the help of his mentor Cameron Alexander, the entire white supremacist culture permeating the area. Instead of just telling them to hate African Americans, Hispanic and Asian people because they are of that race, he makes speeches, telling them persuasively and passionately how these people are stealing their jobs. By stealing their employment, white Americans suffer a poor standard of living, They say, if [you] can’t earn enough money to get by …go back to school and get [your] GEDs so [you] can get higher-paying jobs. But let’s be realistic, we’re talking about survival here. When your kids are hungry and your family is homeless, getting a degree is pretty low on the hierarchy of meeting your family’s immediate and urgent needs (Schwartz-Nobel 125). Derek is severely dangerous because of the powerful qualities he possesses, and the film...
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