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American History X

Derek Vinyard

When you lose someone in your life that had a special place in your heart you at first fell choked and sense a great sadness in your heart that almost is tearing you apart. It can have been a mother, child, friend, a great love; it doesn’t matter really because all these people in one’s life mean a lot. The sadness does very often turn into anger and it can mess with your mind in a way that things, opinions, feelings that you never had felt before is clearer than crystals. Because of the anger you want to have something to blame for the dear one´s death, the one to blame is often the dead one´s enemy or in this case blame the people who haven’t the same skin color as he had.
Derek´s father were the one who passed away or more correctly got killed while he was doing his job in a neighborhood or as Derek calls it “nigerhood”, his father was a fireman but got shot. His father was a racist but not a racist who told openly about his opinions; he sneaked his racist thoughts into the conversations with Derek. He secretly changed Derek into a racist but he just needed something to trigger does feelings to take actions, the father’s death was detonator.
After the father´s death Derek expressions his anger so clearly, he directly blame the dark-skinned population for being the responsible for his father´s death. This was the beginning of Derek´s journey of hate and prejudice.
Persuasion is one of his great qualities that stand out in this movie. His anger and his opinions influence other young white kids who are confused and never had any contact whit others than white protestants, kids who are tired of taking punches from immigrants. He makes it look like it´s them and us, blaming the immigrants for all the crimes in USA, makes the white Protestants look like flawless.
In my own strong opinion about the character before his time in prison, I think that he have to strong opinions based on no really true fact and that he is so full of bullshit that he forces other people the eat it up.
Before his time in prison he seemed very selfish but after he acted more sensitive and caring. He started to want the best for his family and less about the invisible war between black and white people. He had changed into his true self and stopped being so confused. Now he knew what really makes a difference in his life and what that should be one´s priorities. Strength and loyalty towards his family became two things that you can explain his character with, he became as well realistic.

Danny Vinyard

In the movie he can seem as a badass racist who doesn´t care about the consequences of his actions, but in my eyes he seems responsible but not independent. His opinions I believe is created by his friends who obvious are racists. When he said opinions who were racist related he did not say it like it was something that he really felt strongly about. He once said in his assignment “when they look at me they see my brother”, the entire racists in his neighborhood wants him to be as his brother and I think that some part of him wants that to. I believe that the reason to why Danny is a “racist” depends on his brother and father, he have never had the opportunity to make his own opinions because of his father and brother. Their opinions were the ones to fallow and nothing else. Danny is a caring guy who loves his family and wants the best for them and helps as much as he can, but he´s racist side wants to go out partying and listen to white power music. He got two totally different personalities but one thing that they got common is the lack of caring about himself and thinking about the consequences of his actions.

Dr. Bob Sweeney

He is Afro-American who knows that both Danny and Derek hate people with his skin color. He is Danny´s teacher and Derek´s ex teacher. Still in one way he is Derek´s teacher because he supports him and teaches him how life really works, how to take a good look inside and see if anything he has done has made his life better. He helps both Danny and Derek overcome their anger and start seeing life for what it really is about. He gave Derek some strength to survive his time in prison and make the best of it. He is the one who still got hope for Danny and Derek and knows how their life is. He is the one who helps them to make their life into the better. He teaches them that hate only makes things worse.
What messages are conveyed (expressed) in the film?
It shows how easy it is to go along with other people’s opinions and make them tour own. How a small thing and opinion can blow up into a judge deal and even can make you kill someone without even thinking a second thought. That prison can change a person totally from what it once was. It shows how hate can change someone, how it can make someone do stuff you wouldn´t even consider to do. That hate only makes things worse; it makes you become something you’re not and only keeps people apart. The film shows how persuadable we all are if we feel hate or are insecure.

How I did react to the film

I absolutely love this film, it shows so many emotions and how we can separate our hearts feelings and heads awareness. We can so easily be persuaded by someone who is convincing and just start buying everything he/she says. It can have horrible scenes but it shows how hate can lead us to do everything because of some bullshit someone made us believe in. It is really scaring, it makes me think that something like that can happen to anyone, even me and my friends.

How do you relate “barriers” to the film?

I relate hate especially to this film because this is where it all started. Derek and Danny´s father made them become critical against black people because they took the white peoples jobs. The hate really stroke Derek when his father died and wanted someone to blame. That’s when the racism comes in. His hate turned him against especially Afro-Americans. The hate made him believe that the immigrants did everything they could do to destroy America. Because he didn’t know any immigrants or even gave them a chance to show that they didn’t want any harm, he decided to have preconceived opinions about them. This was another type of barrier, prejudice. Derek became a type of leader to racists in his society. He helps them to feel some sort of belonging and together they made their own society where they acted the same and hade the same opinions, or really got along with Derek´s opinions.

Lina Holmgren

American History X, 2.1 out of 5 based on 9 ratings
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