The film " American History X" highlights the problems of race in present day America through non-organized sketches about one family's struggles with prejudice in Venice, California. The background of the film is America's troubled past. Throughout the history of the country, America has been considered a fairly racist union. Undoubtedly the greatest injustice in the United States to this day is the white's treatment of African-Americans, specifically the legacy of slavery. The vast majority of non-black people of that time believed that blacks were not equal to other races. White Americans of the slavery period specifically held this view. It was nearly impossible for a black person to live free in America, and it was even more difficult for a black person to find a job. As time passed, however, many people began to change their views on race relations in America. After slavery was abolished, fewer and fewer people believed that they were supreme over the African-American race. Not only were blacks free, they were becoming accepted as people in American society. They were even becoming accepted in the workplace. Giving a job to an African-American no longer bothered many employers. America seemed to finally be turning around for the better. .
Despite general progress due in large part to the civil rights movement of the 60's, and the gradual relaxing of racist policy throughout the institutions (both governmental and non-governmental) of American society, racist factions and groups remained entranced in the fabric of American communities. One organization that is still rising in popularity is the neo-Nazis. They refuse to accept equality among people. In American History X, Kaye portrays neo-Nazi gang life and how a neo-Nazi organization can grow in a community and influence the life of the Vinyard family. .
The story unfolds through the eyes of Danny Vinyard (Edward Furlong), who idolizes his older brother Derek (Edward Norton).