Racial Representation in American History X Essay

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A movie American History X (1988) deals with white supremacy and racism. We can see a variety of racial representation in this movie. We’re going to see implicit racial associations and racist stereotypes seen in the film first with the framework of John Russell’s discussion in his research “Race as Ricorso: Blackface(s), Racial Representation, and the Transnational Apologetics of Historical Amnesia in the United States and Japan,” examine the background and arguments on race in the movie, and see the editorial point of view of the film maker at last. There are so many symbols that representing race in this movie. Two young white brothers are featured in the story. The older brother Derek had been a white supremacist. He killed two black…show more content…
It turned out that they did not, but the notion of “being raped by blacks in the prison” is shared not only with Derek but also with the audience of the movie. This notion probably comes from what Russell calls “the sexual body images of black males” (Russell, 2011, p.132). Derek has no communication with any members of these macho black guys. In the movie, they are just depicted as “beasts that may sexually offend others.” Since the possible victim is a white, it also indicates that the rape would be a kind of interracial pornography (There is almost no description of black females in the movie. The only one is the black shop-keeper who was insulted by Derek and his racist members). The other symbolic icon of blackness can be found in the characteristic of Lamont, who is a black inmate and becomes a good friend of Derek in the laundry room in the prison. He talks and makes jokes a lot, which also characterizes him as a typical young black male who has a big mouth. Another representation of black character is Dr. Sweeny. He is a high school principle who holds Ph.D. and tries to help both Derek and Danny. He is seen as a well-educated black role-model. He is also seen as the person who has gone through the Civil Right Movement in the 1960s and 1970s. He is a man of dignity and plays a “good guy” in this movie. During these events, some flashbacks of past events are inserted occasionally. One of them is a basketball match with a young black group. Here Derek finally
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