American History X
Will racism ever come to an end or will its path go on infinitely? For the most part, the majority of people respect those who are different either in color, race, and/or heritage; however, there are those few that hold bigoted views towards people who are different than they are. The movie American History X by Tony Kaye displays an example of people who hold bigoted views. Derek, a Neo-Nazi leader, must contend with his actions relating to his past racist views and actions. This powerful movie explores its characters thoroughly and gives reasons why people become so callous and turn towards a racist group. It also exposes insight to problems that plague America when it comes to racism in everyday life, from schoolyards to basketball courts. All together American History X presents its watchers with an impressive theme that makes everyone who watches it take a step back and just say, “WOW!”
The main characters are two brothers, Derek and Danny, and the way they became involved with the Neo-Nazist’s ideas are different, yet the same. Derek the older of the two by five years, is first influenced by his late father. One night at the dinner table they discussed what he was reading in English and Derek told him Native Son. The dad had never heard of it and so Derek explained that it was black history month and so they were reading a book by a black author. His father did not like that very much and angrily talked that with affirmative action, and other such things, blacks were taking away from what was already established by whites. When a black drug dealer shot his dad when he
was fighting a fire on duty as a firefighter, Derek blamed “blacks, brown, yellows, its all their fault” and that lead him down a dark path. Disgruntled and confused, Derek became a leading member in a Neo-Nazi group, which he called the D.O.C. Danny, his young brother, watched, listened, and breathed every word Derek spoke. He too bought into the world of hatred. During the time Derek spent in jail for killing three black burglars, Danny tried to do everything possible so his brother would respect him when he got out. But the time in jail transformed Derek. He rethought his whole life when his former black principal visited him in jail to ask, “Has anything you’ve done made your life better?” (Kaye).
That question was the basis for the movie and a great question. If people asked themselves that simple question, lives would be drastically changed for the better. Derek realized that hatred towards people did not help him, his family, or the situation at hand. Instead of being negative and destructive, why not be positive. Hurting people and destroying property does not solve problems, but only makes them worse by causing more resentment and tension between people (Theriou). Nothing good has ever come out of a situation where one person has been the victim of a...