American History X Analysis

Topics: Racism, African American, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 3 (991 words) Published: March 10, 2008
American History X
Hate is part of the human condition. From our very beginning of our being comes our need to judge and be apprehensive toward people that are strange to us. In the classic film "American History X", directed by Tony Kaye, two brothers are raised in a white supremacist world of racial hatred, self- pity, and social ignorance. It is only through the hard work and concern of a couple people that saved them. The movie opens with a scene from the ocean, forecasting a recurrent theme in the movie. The water is a metaphor for the cleansing of hate. The brothers, Derek and Danny Vineyard, were raised along with their two sisters by their parents in Venice, California. Derek was the eldest of the children, Danny the third child. Derek's father Dennis died when Derek was still in high school. Dennis is not the main focus; however he was influential in placing the seed of racism and hate in his son's heads. At dinner one day Derek was telling everyone that he had been assigned to read a novel written by an African American author by his new English teacher, Bob Sweeny. While his excitement about the material was obvious, his father disapproved of the study. He tells Derek and the rest of the family how the minorities are "taking over", even going so far as to say that "…We don't want to know them." Dennis wasn't even a born in the wool white supremacist; it's just that he had witnessed the replacement of two Caucasian firefighters by two African Americans, as the result of new affirmative action laws. This experience led him to think about the possibility of him being replaced by a minority. Because of this, Derek began to gain more knowledge in the areas he didn't know about. Throughout the next years, Derek and Danny began to hate that which they did not know about. Their father's later death, the result of a random bullet from an African American gunman further seated their hatred for the unknown. When his father was killed, Derek began to talk to...
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