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American History X Review

             Racism influences a individual because of their social and economical position in life. American History X shows how a racist organization takes advantage and tricks white youth into making them feel like they belong to something. They need the feeling of belonging because of their feelings of emptiness. The film explores racism and how it can be learned and unlearned by frustrated, insecure, and neglected young white youth. .
             In American History X, racism is learned by Derek from his father but it's reaffirmed when his father is killed by a black drug-dealer. Instead of facing his problems head on, Derek uses the skin color of his father's killer as a scapegoat. Derek's expressions of sadness and neglection are quickly taken advantage of by the leader of a Nazi Santa Monica gang. Derek's new found ideology is shown through past memories which are shown in black and white. These two colors symbolize how social issues are simplistically seen through a racist mentality of an individual. Viewing the world in full color takes an open mind that is ready to absorb the complexity of life.
             His new racist views also tear his family apart, but Derek doesn't see this because he uses his white pride to blind himself. For example, there is a scene when Derek's mother brings a boyfriend who is Jewish to have dinner with the family, but dinner is cut short when the topic of racism is brought up. Derek doesn't want to hear anything else except for racist propaganda, so he takes his anger and frustration out on his family and mother's Jewish boyfriend both physical and verbally. Derek and his family often argue at the dinner table, whereas the American dinner table usually symbolizes both peace and unity.
             Derek doesn't stay like this forever. His racist views are untaught when he has to spends three years in prison. Derek's ideology is challenged when he has to work with a black inmate named Lamont.

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