American History X: An Analysis Essay

Submitted By alex2617
Words: 534
Pages: 3

American History X is no doubt the most successful attempt in cinema to counter racism, condemn Nazism and bring forward themes of equality and justice. Derek Vineyard is an active member of a white-supremacist group. Derek is portrayed as an intelligent, and motivating individual. Derek viewed himself as a victim of society, holding minorities responsible for the problems in the world. His beliefs are ethnocentric, persistently utilizing his own group’s way of doing things as a yardstick for judging how others should live. However, while in prison for the murder of two African Americans, Derek’s views of society,specifically of white-supremacy and of African Americans changed. What I learned from watching this film is that hatred is unnecessary, and will lead to no where good.

Howvever espite his racistDerek is shocked to discover Lamont is in prison for six years for stealing a tv while looting (during the L.A. riots, perhaps?) and allowing it fall on the arresting officer's foot. It fell because the officer grabbed the tv from Lamont's hand thus releasing it from his grip. The seemingly lengthy sentence was given because he was deemed to have "assaulted" an officer, even though it was the officer's actions which had led to the tv falling on his own foot. Derek got a mere three year sentence - half of what the Black inmate got - for actually killing two people. The obvious implication is that the justice system - both law enforcement and the courts - favours Whites and unfairly punishes Blacks by giving them stiffer sentences for lesser crimes - of which they might not even be guilty. Derek is jolted into realizing just how unfair White society is towards Blacks.Derek is transformed from the hard core racist who would not even speak to Lamont when they started folding laundry together. He even begins to to play basketball with the Black inmatesy. By allowing Derek to play with them the Black prisoners demonstrate their racial tolerance. The neo-nazi prisoners, on the other hand,…