On the following pages I will analyse the presentation of right-wing extremism in the movie American History X and whether this movie is only fiction or reality. I have chosen to deal with this movie and its presentation of right-wing extremism because when I saw the film for the first time I was very astonished how cruel people, who call themselves neo-Nazi, can be. However I have come to the conclusion that it is very well depicted that neo-Nazis still exist today and how cruel such persons can be. Therefore I have decided to analyse whether this film is fiction or reality because I like to deal with history then and now.
The movie American History X was published in 1998 and has been directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna. The movie tells the story of a young American man in the late 1980s and 1990s who is called Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton). Derek is drawn into the neo-Nazi scene after his father was killed by a black man. He believes that the black men are suppressing the white race. Derek Vinyard achieves an important position in the neo-Nazi gang of Venice Beach which is called the Disciples of Christ (D.O.C.). One night Danny (Edward Furlong) his younger brother recognizes that a “black guy” is breaking into the car of his brother. He bursts into Derek’s room and tells him that a “black guy” is breaking into his car. Derek seizes his gun, puts on his steel toad combat boots and goes downstairs. He opens the door and shoots down two black men. The sheltering in prison completely changes his life. He works together with a black guy in the laundry and a friendship develops among them. Step by step Derek realizes that black men are not bad people and he feels ashamed of his past. When his time in prison is over and he returns to his family again, he must recognizes that his little brother Danny has completely fallen into the neo-Nazi scene because he wants to be like his hero, who is Derek himself. Derek tries to resign him and Danny from the Disciples of Christ. At the end of the film Danny is killed by some black students. So the audience is left with a sad situation which is caused by racism.
So in what way is right-wing extremism in America depicted in American History X? The “career” of the protagonist Derek in the neo-Nazi group, “The Disciples of Christ” (D.O.C.), of Venice Beach begins with the death of his father, who is murdered by a “social parasite”, a black person (time 14:46min.). However the real trigger was earlier (compare time 98:32min.) which was his father who already showed some kind of hatred against the black people. The indirect leader of this group is called Cameron Alexander (Stacy Keach). He is between 40 and 50 years old. He uses “Derek to recruit a slew of insecure, frustrated and impressionable kids” (time 13:53min.) and Derek does not recognize that he is exploited by Cameron. Derek himself says that he started the D.O.C. because “white kids should not have to walk around scared in their own neighbourhood” (compare time 17:14min) and that he “was pissed off” (time 94:50min). His hatred against people of a different culture and skin colour is shown while he is speaking to a reporter about the murder of his father. He lists up many problems, for example the immigration, AIDS and welfare, which “are problems of the black community, the Hispanic community, and the Asian community” (time 15:02min.). One day Derek delivers a speech to all members of the D.O.C. in front of a supermarket which they are going to destroy because it is owned by black people. He wants to open their eyes and achieve hatred against illegal immigrants who exploit their country because America “spent three billion dollars last year on service for those people who had no right to be there” (time 35:39min.). He also mentions the American Dream which cannot be fulfilled anymore because “they are loosing their right to...