American History X

American History X

From the first days of humanity, people have competed amongst themselves. They have done it basing on gender, social position, economic prosperity, education, etc. Nevertheless, the most evil and prolonged fight in the history of humanity is racial discrimination. The movie American History X (1998), directed by Tony Kaye, shows the proof of it. It reveals the history of neo – Nazi movement in the history of America on the example of two brothers, being involved in it. On the one hand, the movie persuades its viewers of the following thing. The discrimination of blacks is justified by evil crimes, committed by them. Nevertheless, while reading between lines of the film American History X,it is possible to notice as follows. Both positions of the whites’ superiority and of blacks’ are absolutely incorrect because aggression breeds aggression. It does not bring any solution.

Cameron Alexander is a major leader and theoretical supporter of the idea of white power. He creates the community of Neo – Nazis and persuades all participants of it. The blacks are the greatest evil in their life, according to him. He is like a serpent from Eden, who tempts to make illegal actions but does not show the consequences of them. The major servant of Cameron Alexander and practical impersonator of his ideas is Derek Vinyard. He hates blacks and oppresses them with the help of aggression. On the one hand, it seems that the philosophy of Cameron Alexander, presented in the form of Derek’s behavior, is correct. Firstly, black drug dealers killed Derek’s father, Dennis Vinyard, a firefighter. Meanwhile he was performing his working duty when murdered. Secondly, Derek shoots three black gang members because they wanted to steal his truck.

Nevertheless, the dramatic changes of the aggressive attitude of Derek towards blacks, gained in prison, prove the following idea. White power is not as stable as it may seem at its first sight. Firstly, Derek reveals that members of any white community may be as evil as blacks are. When he expresses his disaffection towards the Aryan Brotherhood, he does not gain their understanding but a punishment in a form of beating and rape. Secondly, in prison, Derek finds out that not all black people should be treated as bad ones. Lamont, a black colleague of Derek from a prison laundry, supports him when his white friends treat him outrageously. In addition, Derek gets a helpful hand from Sweeney, the black headmaster. He defends Derek in court and does everything possible to release him from prison. Due to it, the hero understands that it is necessary not to differentiate people because of their race. There are good and bad people among both white and black groups.

Nevertheless, the idea of white power is so deeply rooted in the minds of many people that it cannot be eliminated only by some efforts of one person. The bright example of it is the fate of Derek’s brother Danny. He is an ardent supporter of his brother’s Neo – Nazi ideas. He even joins Cameron Alexander’s group and indicates it by a visible sign of a D. O. C. tattoo. That is why it is very difficult for him to accustom to new Derek’s ideology. Although he tries doing it, the previous life experience does not give him an opportunity to escape. Danny ends his life in a bathroom at school. A black student, Little Henry, kills him because of the desire to have some revenge for his offended feelings.

However, the tragic death of Danny does not mean that it is necessary to accept the idea of white power and stop fighting against racial discrimination. To my mind, this death is shown in the film to provide all viewers with the necessary solution. It can be found in the last words of Danny, taken from his essay about racial discrimination: “Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time […] We are not enemies, but friends”(McKenna & Kaye). They prove the necessity to stop aggression because it does not bring anything except aggression. In other words, discrimination can result in self-destruction to humankind.

To sum up, the movie American History X provides viewers with the depiction of a perennial problem of humanity, i.e. racial discrimination. It proves that the idea of white power has not rational ground. It is because the differentiation of people into good and bad ones does not depend on their race but other factors such as moral principles, level of education, and peculiarity of life. That is why it is necessary to destroy the societal stereotype of superiority of any race. Aggression brings nothing more than aggression and destruction.