Film, American history X

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Ian Mauro


Film, American history X
Racism in the United States is still very apparent and an ongoing issue in this country. The difficulty of understanding racism is that you don’t understand what the Victims are going through. There are so many different forms of racism in today’s society that some have considered racism to be normal. For example, there are people in this country that think it is acceptable for racism to exist. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan preach messages of hatred towards African Americans. While the Ku Klux Klan is not the only group that preaches messages of hatred, they are probably the most distinguished. Groups like the Ku Klux Klan really show people in America that Racism still exists. The movie American History X shows how racism can affect different groups of people in different ways.

American History X is based in Venice Beach, California. One of the main characters, Derek Vinyard, starts off in the movie as a proclaimed supremacist. He makes it apparent that he doesn’t like African Americans, and has his own reasons why he doesn’t like African Americans. One of the biggest reasons is that two black men killed his father. The father was a fire fighter and was battling a fire at the time he was killed in south central Los Angeles. With the passing of his father, Derek really started to develop his hatred more and more towards African Americans. Derek’s father also didn’t like African Americans, which helped Derek and his brother Danny Vinyard to form more hatred towards African Americans.

The Disciples of Christ (D.O.C.) is a street gang in Venice beach that Derik Vinyard is major part of. The whole point of the D.O.C. is to show white pride and cause terror and harm towards other races. At one point some members of the D.O.C. including Derik are playing basketball on courts that are being shared by African Americans who are a part of the crips. Derik decides to challenge them to a game of ball too see who gets the basketball courts as part of their turf. At the end of the game the D.O.C. wins.

After the basketball match, Derik returns back to house with his girlfriend. Derik and his girlfriend are having sex when suddenly gunshots open up on Derik’s house. He quickly jumps to action and grabs a gun and starts shooting rounds back at the people in the car that were shooting at him. He ends up killing the passenger in the front seat and drags the driver out of the car. The driver of the car is taken to the curb and stomped on repeatedly. While this is going on, Danny has witnessed every action that his brother has done. The cops immediately come to the scene and arrest Derek Vinyard. Derek is charged with voluntary manslaughter and is sentenced to three years in prison.

During the beginning of Derek Vinyard’s sentence, he joined the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang. He learned that the leader of the Aryan Brotherhood was associating himself with a Mexican drug dealer. Derek felt that a true White Supremacist would not associate with a different race no matter the cause. Soon After, Derek decided to disassociate himself from the Ayran Brotherhood. At this point Derik started to become friends with a black inmate who he worked with during laundry. Lamont was a black inmate who was serving a sentence that he did not deserve. Lamont was framed for his supposed crimes and now had to serve a bogus sentence. Derik was starting to finally understand what racism had done to all different types of people. He was also learning that racism is pointless.

The Aryan brotherhood noticed that Derek was making friends with a black inmate. At that point Derek was brutally beaten up and raped in the prison showers. Derek was considered a to be a loner. His friend Lamont was trying to help protect Derik from the black inmates, so he could potentially survive prison. The lessons that Derik Vinyard learned in prison were not such an easy concept for people that Derik hung around with outside of prison to understand.

Throughout the rest of the movie Derik tries to help sway his little brother in the right direction. Danny Vinyard decides to become a white supremacist like his brother once was. The lessons that he tries to teach to his little brother seem to go unnoticed at first. After reasoning with his brother and helping him understand why racism is important, Danny slowly starts to understand why racism is not important. At the end of the movie Danny wrote an essay for school that he had illustrated why he thinks racism is no longer important, Only to be killed by another student who Danny had conflict with the day before.

This film demonstrates what Racism can do to people in the modern day America. It also shows why and people develop hatred for each other whether the reasons are good or bad. American history X was really compelling for many people because of the adversity and semantics that were played throughout the film. The characters in the film each had there own part that really made the movie come together. The entire film shows how people react to racism and how some people deal with it.

The affects of racism can very difficult for some people to understand. What are some the effects? Well in the case of American History X, people died due to racism. Other people were severely beaten and were constantly watching there back. These are just some of the affects that were demonstrated throughout the movie. But racism has much more affects than just physical punishment. The mental punishment is a big factor for victims of racism. People don’t understand what racism does to someone’s mind and well being. An individual’s peace of mind is potentially gone when they are victim to racism. The affects can be life damaging and change how people live their lives.

Racism doesn’t only affect the victims; sometimes it affects people that are the ones themselves being racist. When people choose to live their lives as a racist, they usually end up having some form of aggression towards themselves. Whether it is the victims, or an outside group that doesn’t condone such acts of racism. Racism has many affects that are not necessarily seen by all angles.

Psychologically, racism can destroy someone’s wellbeing. Even if it is a minor incident. There have been psychological study’s that show the affects of racism towards non-white people. Racism causes tremendous amounts of stress that people have to live with for long periods of time. In American history X there was many people who had to suffer from stress because the actions of racism. Derek Vinyard experienced racism while he was in prison that totally changed his life around. In the movie he shows that racism not beneficial for anyone and tries to teach that to the people that he cares about.

This movie is one of the greatest examples of diversity that is available today. It shows what the effects and causes of racism from many different points of views. American history X has many different examples of people overcoming adversity and also overcoming Racism. It is a perfect example of diversity and should be played in this class. The movie is very compelling and has lesson that most people learn after watching it. The characters overcome adversity and struggles that people in modern day life go through. American history x should be used in this class for the examples of diversity it demonstrates throughout the entire movie.

Crocker, John. "THE EFFECTS OF RACISM-RELATED STRESS ON THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL WELL-BEING OF NON-WHITES." Ed. John Crocker. Rivier College , 2007. Web. 25 July 2012. Ed. Rachel Pendergraft. KKK, n.d. Web. 25 July 2012.
Jagusztyn, Nicole E. University of South Florida, 2007. Web. 25 July 2012.

Mckenna, David., n.d. Web. 25 July 2012.

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