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American History X

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American History X It's quite amazing when you think about how much of an influence someone you look up to can have on your life. I chose to study the movie American History X, because it tells the story of how a white supremacist goes to jail for a hideous hate crime, and while in jail realized that everything he had believed was wrong. His whole mind was warped into believing that the white race is superior in everyway, and everyone who wasn't a white protestant had no right to be in America. Derek Vinyard is the main character. He became the prot�g� of a man by the name of Cameron Alexander. Cameron is the leader of the white supremacists; he is very persuasive in getting others to believe what he believes. He became the significant other of Derek and every other white supremacist in the area. Significant other is someone who influences others in the way they act. Derek's beliefs didn't begin with Cameron though. Derek's father was a fireman who was shot and killed by black gang members while he was trying to put out a fire. ...read more.


After that happened Derek was visited in jail by his high school principal, Bob Sweeney. Derek asked Sweeney for help, and that he had realized everything he learned was wrong. Sweeney asked Derek a question that makes him really see the light and want to change his ways, Sweeney said "has anything you done, made your life better?" After that Derek stopped hanging out with the skinheads, and was on his own in prison. He was forced to do laundry in jail, and worked with a black person, when he asked the black person, why he was in jail, he was told he was in jail for stealing a TV and dropping it on a police mans foot, who said that it was thrown, so he got 6 years for assault on a police officer. Derek couldn't believe it, and it really opened his eyes, the person he did laundry with said he was crazy, that he would be killed without anyone to protect him, so he told the blacks to stay off Derek's back and to leave him alone. Derek found out his life was saved by a black man and the skin heads went from being his in-group, to his out-group, and the ...read more.


As you can see, Derek never really had a chance to believe what he wanted, everyone he looked up to, had some sort of racism, and he was spoon-fed to believe all of it. Everyone growing up looks up to someone, and has different beliefs, whether its about god, religion, or race, people believe different things based on what they have been told while they were growing up. Derek believed in a culture that he soon realized didn't even exist. Cameron had used him to try and start an army, and Cameron never had to do any of the dirty work himself, he always had someone else do it for him, so the cops could never pin anything to him. This whole movie relates to sociology because of how they are forced to believe something that they normally wouldn't believe unless it was taught to them. The whole thing became cultural diffusion, which is the spread of cultural characteristics from one group to another. They had gangs set up all over the world, all run by Cameron. Cameron had all the power, and didn't want to share it with anyone, which is also termed, the iron law of oligarchy. Racism is in every culture, and if learned at a young age it can quickly become ones way of living for his entire life. ...read more.

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