Essay Example on American History X: Racism in America's Colorblind Society

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1515 Words
Date:  2023-03-12

The American History X is a film directed by Tony Kaye and scripted by David Mckenna, the shooting of the movie was done in Venice Beach, California in the United States. Derek Vinyard and Danny Vinyard are the main characters of the film. The movie American History X offers an insight into the misfortune derived from racism in America; most of the characters in the movie are overly conscious in their society. They lack colorblindness racism, as explained by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. They make no effort to conceal their emotions and filter through their thoughts while interacting with people of color. The frames of colorblindness are evident in the movie as evaluated by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's framework; abstract liberalism, naturalization racism, cultural-based racism and finally minimization of racism.

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The script starts in the home of Derek and Danny where a gang of black men are breaking into Derek's truck, Danny swiftly runs to tell Derek the awaiting misfortune, Derek hurriedly rushed outside holding a gun and shot the black American rival gang members while Danny being scared stood to watch. Derek's actions were careless and sad, he did not stop to think that he was dealing with fellow human beings; all he saw was a group of minorities who were attempting to steal a car his father passed down to him. The setting for this movie is black and white as it begins, to show how life in America was in that era, whites against the black. However, it later incorporates color at it progresses which indicates the willingness of people to co-exist in a multi-racial society. The white and black colors display the theme of the film and its agenda to highlight the reality of racism in America.

At school, Danny's principal Dr. Sweeny is making initiatives to get him to transform his mindset on race matters and attempting to show him that humanity comes before color while the film attributes Derek's behavior to the demise of their father who worked as a firefighter and was killed while on duty by a minority. Derek's family was interviewed concerning his father's death, and at that point, Danny articulated his opinions on the minority. Obtained from his views are the three frames of blindness, which are: Abstract liberalism, Cultural Racism and Minimization of Racism. From Danny's speech he refers t to the minorities as "parasites", he said his father was killed as he tried to stop a fire in the black neighborhood that he should have not cared to help. He thought that the minorities are the cause of America's failures as a nation by saying that "Millions of white Europeans came to the country, and it flourished." Derek claimed that AIDS and welfare issues belong to the minorities and that the whites had nothing to do with it. His hatred for the minorities made Derek but blame of everything going wrong to the blacks.

Progressively Danny narrates a memory of when he and the gang leader Cam were on gang errands to sign up new gang members in Archie Ranch Market, they primarily targeted white teenage boys with low self-esteem and had lost their footing in the society. They felt that a white gang would help the young boys feel safe in the same neighborhood as the minorities. Abstract liberalism is seen when Danny alleges that the minority are substance abusers and that they are to blame for the welfare system. Additionally, after Derek's speech, the audience attests to Danny and Derek invading a shop and causing mayhem while insulting the employees. The gang attacked the employees because they felt that they did not deserve the jobs they have, they hoped that the business and the jobs belongs to the whites.

Fast forward, the film shows a scene of the two brothers having dinner in the company of their mother and her friend; a teacher called Ms Murray. Ms Murray engages them in a conversation telling them of the riots that were ongoing in Los Angeles; her views were that the minority were acting out of anger. Murray being a Jew had contradicting opinions with Derek especially on Rodney King's case and how the L.A.P.D abused him. Murray thought that the beatings were a little too harsh; Derek on the other hand felt that the L.A.P.D was right. After a short while, Derek got brutal on Muray and his family, he uttered some harsh words to Muray that disrespected the Jewish beliefs and society. This scene contributed to Danny's perception of the world, he watched and learned from his brother's actions. Later that night Danny recalls the horrible incident where his brother killed the black men who tried to break in Derek's truck, when he was being arrested he smiled at Danny showing no feelings of remorse. Danny wrote in a Paper Dr. Sweeny asked him to write that "For a long time I thought that night that Derek was proof that right." Danny felt a little bit lost but all he knew was what he saw his brother do, he got into the gang's business and followed in his brothers footsteps.

Derek seriousness and willingness to transform is evident en he got out of prison, he went to see Cam the gang head to let him know of his decision to leave the gang and all its dealings. Danny eavesdrops on his brother's new opinions on racism and how he decides to turn his back on the White Supremacy Organization. Danny got infuriated and demanded to know what had happened to Derek that triggered the change in perception. In this scene Derek begins to narrate his story, he remembered one day when he was out in the prison's courtyard, he removed his shirt to announce that he was a Neo-Nazi. He attached himself to a certain gang but, he realized that he did not resonate with the gang's views. He despised how the gang members would forcefully take the minorities' drugs to sell them to the other prisoners in the prison. He was irritated with the gang and he decided that he was out, from this moment Derek denounced the white gang supremacy life. He started associating himself with the blacks and joined them in playing basket ball in the court yard and made friends with a few minorities.

This act angered the white gang members; they attacked Derek while he was taking a shower, they physically and sexually abused him. During his time in Jail, Derek was assigned duty at the laundry block with a black inmate called Lamont. The frame of racial progressive is displayed in this scene where allows himself to be friends with an African American man. Lamont was a loyal friend who protected Derek from all the blacks who wanted to cause him harm until his sentence period was over. The sentence contributed significantly to how Derek perceived the world, he came out a changed person with more respect for the minorities.

Growing up in a black dominated area and the way the media portrayed the minorities publicly played a huge role in developing the racist mindset in the two brothers, not to say that it is the only contributor, in the movie a scene is shown where the boys and their father, Mr. Dennis Vinyard were having breakfast at the dining table. Derek expresses how he liked Dr. Sweeny classes. Mr. Dennis did not like his son's comment and he replied "is it black history month?" He furthers expresses his thought on affirmative action claiming that it is a "hidden Agenda." He talks of how two black gentlemen got a job position over a more qualified white fellow. Their father primarily played the greatest role in nurturing the frame Abstract Liberalism in his sons Derek and Danny. Unfortunately, Danny was murdered in school by a black student who never saw eye to eye with him.


The American History X is one of the most educational movies created to enlighten the community on racism and how far the repercussions could go. From the lessons learnt from this film, it is fundamental to bring up a generation that respects the existence of every population in America. Color should never be a reason to judge a person but character should in a multi-racial society. At the end of the film Danny completes his narration by a quote from the great Abraham Lincoln"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies, although passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." The film shows the effects of colorblindness, clearly if the issues of colorblindness are overlooked; they will cause misunderstanding in the future multiracial society and the fight against racism will be far from over. It should be acknowledged that every culture contributes a well functioning population and everyone should value the diverse beliefs and cultures of every citizen without bringing the difference in skin color into the picture.

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Essay Example on American History X: Racism in America's Colorblind Society. (2023, Mar 12). Retrieved from

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