American History X Essay examples

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American History X

American History X is clearly a film dealing with the social topic of racism. The interesting thing about this film is the way in which the subject is presented. 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 or dummying down. Second, the film's figurehead for racism, Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton), is not an unintelligent redneck racist as films often portray them, but is in fact well-spoken, charismatic and bright, although he clearly holds ideals that are terribly wrong. Finally, the film shows that it is not only the white, neo-nazi racists who are fools for being involved in this, but all those who hold hatred in
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For example, the young, black men were disgraced by the white male in a local game of basketball; therefore, the black men go to do damage to the white males car, which in turn, leads to the white male killing the young black men. It's a vicious circle with no end in sight.

The film also did a very good job in the way they tie racial issues in with the portrayal of Derek's character as a strong and bold leader. The things that make Derek such a powerful and frightening character is not the fact that he is racist, it is the fact that instead of choosing a somewhat regular, backwoods, unintelligent racist as the films central character, Derek is well spoken and bright. It is these qualities that 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 black, Hispanic, and Asian people because they are of that race, he makes speeches, telling them charismatically and passionately how these people are stealing their jobs, causing Americans to suffer a poor standard of living. He tells them "America needs to take care of Americans before dealing with immigrants." And his speeches clearly incite this hatred in the young people of that area and flare up their tempers, causing behavior, such as we see in the movie when they destroy a grocery store because it was bought by a Korean immigrant who employs, "40 fuckin' border jumpers"

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