America History X Essay

Submitted By ArmondShipp1
Words: 1583
Pages: 7


America History X
Armond Shipp
Gangs in America


The movie that I chose to review is American History X. I picked this movie because this relates to popular culture in so many ways. The first way that it relates is the fact that people back in the day, white individuals were racist against blacks and other minorities. The second way is that, although faced with adversity, you have to adapt to the current situation that you are put in. You can choose to go down the path in which you are traveling or change to a better path. This is exactly what happened in this movie. Derek had to embrace the aspects of being in a situation that he was not comfortable with and do the best that he could with it. Even though he had a swastika tattoo on his chest, the prison officials forced him to work with the black men. Prison changed the way that Derek thought about life, causing him to change his way as well as no longer practicing in or for the KKK.
The movie American History X is about two brothers, Danny and Derek Vineyard who are skinheads.
Derek was the older of the two brothers. The movie beings as with three black men pulling up trying to break into Derek’s truck, so Derek comes out with a pistol and shoots and kills one, curb stomps the other, and the one as the driver gets away. The effect of his actions landed himself a conviction of voluntary manslaughter and three years in prison. Danny’s history teacher had the student write a paper on a civil rights person that is of their choice. Danny decided to write about Hitler and titled it
Mein Kampf. The history teacher went to the principle because he believed that the paper is out of line. The principle elects to reprimand Danny for the paper that he wrote and instructs Danny to rewrite the paper except this time it is to be on his older brother Derek that was due the next day.
The principle would become his new history teacher and decided to call the paper American History
X. Danny had to transcribe the actions that lead to his brother’s imprisonment. He also has to embrace how those actions affected him, shaped his current perspective on concerning life, and the impact that it had on his and family’s life. The principle told Danny that Derek was also a student for him and was a straight “A” student in high school just like Danny was. The principle stated that
Derek hung out with the wrong group of people and changed. After their father’s death, it appeared that this was the trigger to the hatred that Derek had for other racial groups other than the whites.
Later Derek established himself as one of the most infamous skinheads in his home ground and started the D.O.C. With his stature throughout the community, it allowed him to rally other disturbed kids to join the skinheads. While in prison, his fellow skinheads raped and beat him simply because he elected to become friends with a fellow black inmate. They could help the Hispanic people with little incentive, it was still wrong for Derek to be friends with the black man. The two worked together in the laundry area of the prison. The two began to talk and became good friends during the three years in prison. When Derek is finally released from prison, he is shocked to see that his younger brother is headed right where he was. So Derek quits the skinhead gang, called the D.O.C., and he attempts to reform his brother. Derek was succeeding in reforming his brother until, his brother was shot by a young black male.


The main characters of this film are Derek and Danny. Derek joins the D.O.C. basically the result of this was prison. Derek states that it was the death of his father that triggered the racism. Derek’s racism should be blamed on his father. His father showed signs of racism, and he expected, then the once open minded Derek, to have those same racist views as well. After his father’s death those views stuck with him, and he was also vulnerable, which made joining