The film American History X gives a new meaning to racism. The story is about modern-day racial hatred going on in the United States today. The purpose of the story is to realize that racial hatred does not accomplish anything except create more hate. The director and writer of this movie accomplish their purpose through character development, the targeted audience, and cinematography.
Character development best helps to accomplish the purpose of the movie. The most developed characters in this film are Derek and Danny. Derek's character is full of racial hatred and plays as a leader of a neo-Nazi group in Venice Beach, California at the beginning of the movie. "Based on this traumatic incident and an underlying climate of subtle racism, the elder son, Derek, focuses his rage on the minority community and becomes a racist agitator" (McKenna 2). Derek preaches to young skinheads about his beliefs of the American society and how minority groups are corrupting the society and wasting taxpayer's money. They have to put an end to these immigrants, and Derek constantly encourages his followers to take any kind of actions to stop these immigrants. Derek shows great hate towards minority groups by raiding the Korean market and by murdering two black teenagers who attempted to break into his vehicle. Derek's murderous attack on the two black teenagers gave him three years in the penitentiary. He had no problem with finding a group of friends that were also skinheads but later finds out that they were not true to their beliefs. Derek tries to get them to hate all the minorities and to become a white supremacist group but instead, they turned on Derek and raped him in the shower. Derek was forced to work with a black man in the laundry room that helps him survive the rest of his prison sentence. He gradually began to discover the error of his racial beliefs and becomes good friends with the black man.