12 December 2012
Remember the Titans It is apparent to the audience from the start Remember the Titans is about Prejudice, Racism and discrimination. Set in a traditionally white southern town in 1971, the effects of court ordered integration are coming down hard on the town’s people. The struggles of being black in a white society that is trying to manage the change that integration has forced on them and the struggle of being white in a time of radical change when they must alter their attitudes and beliefs about blacks. The interactions, experiences and relationships between the football players, coaches, and the community demonstrate these principles and concepts clearly in many scenes. The opening scene of the movie reveals Coach Yoast and assistant coach Tyrell escorting several of their white football players, who left practice to join in a race riot, back to their office so they can ‘cool down’. Coach Boone is inside waiting for a meeting that was scheduled for him and Coach Yoast. Gerry Bertier and Coach Tyrell are insulting black people while they are walking to the office and continue to disparage black people in front of Coach Boone. Coach Yoast and Coach Boone each state that neither of them want to be in this position and don’t like it. Coach Tyrell’s comments to Coach Boone reveal a deep set and text book example of the prejudice coach Tyrell has against blacks. He notes several characteristics he associates with all blacks and attributes them to Coach Boone, a classic application of stereotyping. Because both of these men are more professional than Coach Tyrell and there are students in the room, they do not act on or voice their prejudice. Gerry meanwhile is a high school student who has formed many of his opinions and beliefs at this point in his life and prejudice against blacks is an obvious one. Gerry has not had a lot of interactions with black people previously because of where and how he has grown up so far, so his beliefs and attitudes must have been learned from people around him. This is a wonderful example of how quickly people can learn prejudice and how much it can affect their behavior and attitude toward others.
Perhaps the most impactful scene in the movie is when Coach Boone wakes the entire team up at 3 AM one night at training camp and makes them take a long distance run through the woods. The run lasts until sunrise and the first hour of light. All the players are extremely tired, sore and out of breath when they finally stop at the edge of a field with gravestones in it. Coach Boone is out in front of the entire team and starts a short monologue by telling them they are standing at the edge of the field where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. He continues to tell the team how 50,000 men died right in front of where the team was standing and fighting the same fight they are fighting today. Coach Boone described the battle in detail, with descriptions and adjectives that no doubt formed vivid mental images in the player’s minds. Coach Boone