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1393 words - 6 pages

In Odessa, an oil-rich town in West Texas, there is a line that separates the two races of blacks and whites. They called it “the American version of the Berlin Wall – the railroad tracks that inevitably ran through the heart of town” (Bissinger 91). The tracks are the symbol of the barrier, tension, and attitude that stand between the two races. To the Odessan whites, African Americans are often considered extraneous, with few hopes and dreams to follow. It is also a common part of everyday language to blurt out the word “nigger,” without ever categorizing it in a racist context. To escape the predisposed perception, the football stadium, where the night lights shine, is the solitary premises where blacks accepted as an identity, as well as athletes. In the non-fiction book, Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger explores this phenomenon of racial tension and the low expectation that are imposed upon black athletes. Through the use of descriptive imagery, revealing dialogue, and anaphora, Bissinger describes the underlying message of Odessan’s racial division, coupled with the meager education that the general population receives while obsessed with high school football.
The dream to strive as a football star can be achievable, but in some occasions, these dreams are miscarried. Boobie Miles is an African American star running back for the Permian football team, with an aspiration to strive for greatness in the football industry. Due to his abilities, Boobie was heavily recruited from colleges, asking him to play for their team. Despite of his talented skills, Boobie lacks the fundamentals in education. As a learning disabled student, he struggles to absorb information, making it difficult to stay motivated and perform well academically. For all colleges knew about Boobie was that “he was big and strong and fearless, and that was enough reason to cram his head and dreams” (Bissinger 65). Through the image of Boobie’s physique, Bissinger suggests that Boobie’s dreams only lies in sports, with no foundation of education. To Boobie’s further distress, his dream shatters when he injured his knee during a scrimmage against the opposing team. This accident not only jeopardizes Boobie’s career, but also lay down the principal truth behind athletes of colors. Accordingly, Bissinger shows the readers how Blacks are viewed: “Just do to him what a trainer did to a horse…shoot him to put him out of the misery of life that no longer had any value” (Bissinger 67). The imagery illustrates here depicts an oppression tone which translates to the fact that Blacks athletes are solely exploited until they have reach their point of exhaustion. In sum, Bissinger is implying that African American are only accepted in the realm of Odessa football because they are physically capable of bringing victory to the game. However, when black athletes are seen as no longer useful in the playing field, the Permian whites automatically omit them from the hierarchy. Laurence Hurd, an...

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