Social Stratification is study of socially-structured inequality in society. The movie American History X deals with social stratification in many ways. Derek Vinyard, the protagonist of American History X, grew up in a white lower to middle class family. Derek's views of society are directly shaped by his father at an early age. His father is a hard working white American that feels immigrants and blacks are getting extra treatment then whites. He makes the case that a black firefighter was hired simply because he was black even tough a white man scored better on the tests. Economic inequalities truly exist and our government is trying to narrow the gap. Certain theories like structural functionalism state that every facet of the society structural has a function. For example the function or purpose of inequality in income is to encourage people to make the most with what they are capable of. However one can argue that the dumbest rich kids are as likely to go to college as the smartest poor kids. This doesn't seem fair. In the movie American History X economic structure plays an important role in the develop of the D.O.C, the Disciples of Christ, a white supremacist group that reeks havoc and hatred towards everyone not White Protestant.
Conflict Theory, as stated best by Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto explains "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." The conflict theory assumes that economic inequalities are the underlying source of all conflicts. American History X does follow suit. When Danny tells the story about Venice Beach ten years ago, how it was a beautiful small prominently white neighborhood. And how it evolved into a lower income it makes you think about the conflict theory. Did the middle class get lower? Or did the lower class get higher?.
Either way a vicious circle is formed. "Collective action of the top dogs against the underdogs establishes the practices of inequality in each mode of inequality, parasitic practices are established through collective action, and then enabling myths make the practices seem legitimate.