Reality vs Film (Remember the Titans Movie)

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Remember the Titans, directed by Boaz Yakin and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, centers around the American football team of the newly integrated T.C Williams High School in Alexandria (Virginia), in the early 1970s. The Caucasian head coach of the football team (the Titans) is replaced by an African American coach from North Carolina. Tensions arise when players of different races are forced together on the same football team. Many of these tensions however, are somewhat eased during the two-week training camp. When all the players return, they find the city in turmoil due to the forced de-segregation of schools. As the season progresses, the team’s successes causes the community to accept the changes and become much closer than ever. This film is based on a true story, although events in the film are largely exaggerated, some of these examples being the initiating racial tensions within the team as well as the level of opposition that the team faced.

Hollywood films sacrifice fact and real interpretation of events to cater for the wider audience as shown in this film by racial stereotypes. Some of the stereotypes shown in this film are the reluctant mother and Gerry Bertier’s girlfriend. In Remember the Titans, Gerry’s girlfriend, Emma, disapproves of the de-segregation and of Gerry becoming friends with Julius Campbell and other black players. She suggests this when she says on the first day of class at the newly integrated T.C Williams High school, “Look at them, they hate us….they’ll always hate us.” That is a stereotype and generalization of the whole race. However, Emma is actually a fictional character. Gerry’s girlfriend at the time was called Becky and didn’t have any problems with Gerry being friends with African-Americans. (ESPN Internet Ventures, Reel Life: ‘Remember the Titans’, 2007). Another example of stereotyping is the reluctant restaurant manager. “I reserve the right to refuse service to anybody…Now, y'all want somethin' to eat, you can take these boys out back and pick it up from the kitchen.” This also didn’t actually happen but the attitude portrayed by the restaurant may have been similar to existing establishments in the United States at that time. This scene was created and added to help emphasize the racial tension in the film. (ChasingtheFrog.com/CTF Media, Remember the Titans (2000)). Racial Stereotypes are shown in Remember the Titans which are inaccurate and show that films/movies don’t include read facts/interpretations of events to the audience.

Facts and real interpretations of events are not always accurate in films/movies and this is seen by the de-segregation in Remember the Titans. De-segregation is shown by the first day of school for the now integrated T.C Williams High School. In the film, we see protestors standing outside; “Get out! We don’t want them here!” In reality, however, there were no protestors outside of the high school on the first day. George Washington Junior High School, however, did have some fights. (’71 Original Titans Foundation, Official 1971 Original Titans Website, 2000-2010). The film portrays huge racial tension in the T.C Williams High school in 1971 but the integration of black and white students happened in 1965 and former students said that many racial barriers had broken down by 1971. (ESPN Internet Ventures, Reel Life: ‘Remember the Titans’, 2007). Another example of de-segregation is the team building that the football team did. Before the first game that the Titans played, Coach Boone says “Like all the other schools in this conference, they're all white. They don't have to worry about race. We do." This is false as all of the other schools that the Titans faced during the 1971 season were integrated schools. (ESPN Internet Ventures, Reel Life: ‘Remember the Titans’, 2007). However, most of the de-segregation events seen in this film are accurate, including the integration of the bus on the way to Football camp. Films don’t always show truthful...
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