Sociological Movie Review: Coach Carter
Introduction to Sociology (HSO 101)
Kamles Kumar A/L Vijaya Kumar
Miss. Rachel Chan Suet Kay
Coach Carter is a 2005 movie which was based upon a true story. The movie underlines the social structure and stratification of life in the American ghetto. The theme of the movie is the outcome of such societal boundaries on this group of students who play basketball; how it outlines their life, affects their social life and also their life goals. The movie depicts a Structural-functionalist of society Coach Carter received both high praise and staunch criticism when he made national news for benching his entire undefeated team for poor academic performance. Set in Richmond, California, this rousing, heartfelt portrayal of human courage and conviction is about overcoming the obstacles of your environment and showing young men a future that stretches beyond gangs, drugs, prison, and yes…even basketball. The coach made all his players sign a written contract that states, they should achieve a 2.3 G.P.A and also be present in class. In utter disbelieve, one player, Timo Cruz (Rick Gonzalez) physically challenges Coach Carter, only to get flung upon the gym wall. Cruz then protests that teachers are not allowed to touch students. In reply, Coach Carter responds, “I’m not a teacher; I’m the new basketball coach.” There is a new sheriff in town. Cruz angrily quits the team and goes back to drug dealing (only to rejoin the team later after repenting of his sins). Encouraging others to put education before sport, Carter wants to leave a legacy. He wants players to see beyond their hoop dreams and see a future with endless opportunities and possibilities. He acknowledges the fact that inner-city students face the challenges of poverty, racial discrimination and poor schools. The film also portrays the individual attitudes of the students as the primary obstacle to their academic achievement. These students also don’t have the right manners, the right behaviour or the right values to succeed in school. They have low aspirations and a low self-image, and they believe the odds are stacked against them. As quoted in the movie, students from Richmond High (the school the movie is based in) only 50% of them graduate and of the 50% only 6% make it to college. The school administrative system itself believes that the students are bound to fail and cannot effectively educate these students.
Following the sociological theory of structural functionalist, where society is governed by a set of patterned expectations (rules and regulations) which have developed, which indicate how individuals should behave in order to maintain social order and continuity. More precisely, education is viewed as serving the four functional requirements that all societies have in order to survive. This is shown in Coach Carter, where he keeps stressing throughout the movie that education is very important in relieving yourself from a bad society to a good one. The students at Richmond High mostly did not graduate and he wanted him team to go to college and graduate Coach Carter also hints to the Principal Garrison (Denise Dowse), she should pay more attention in educating the students. She should not just expect them to fail and do something about it to change their students and society in a whole. Principal Garrison says “Your job, Mr. Carter, is to teach these boys basketball. I suggest you start doing your job”. Which he sarcastically replies “Your job is to educate these students; I suggest you start doing yours”. Teachers have to pay more attention to their job and be keener in their student’s grades.
According to Parsons, how the school class functions to internalize in its pupils both the commitments and capacities for successful performance of their future adult roles, and Second of how it functions to allocate these human resources within the role structure of the adult...