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American History X

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American History X

American History X is a compelling and heart touching movie of the 21st Century. It portrays both negative and positive messages. But like the saying goes, "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder," this movie has the same effect; You can choose to take the positive outlook, or the negative. I feel the overall emotion of the movie is understanding and learning. Learning from the mistakes of others that are close to you, and more importantly, understanding why you're learning from these mistakes. I feel this movie mirrors society today greatly, but more along the lines of the younger generation, in three ways : gangs, racism, and image.

Gangs are a huge part of our society and are growing rapidly each year. Children younger and younger are joining gangs based on what they see on TV, hear from their friends or even what they see their older siblings or role models doing. American History X portrays this very well. A younger brother follows in the footsteps of his older, Nazi brother, who eventually winds up in prison. Because of this, the younger brother ends up with a horrible fate. Here in America we see this happen every day. A curious little kid follows his big brother to a gang initiation or "place of meeting" and Boom! Wrong place, wrong time scenario falls into place. A drive by or shooting occurs and the innocent bystander ends up with a bullet in him, eventually killing him. Another reflection from this movie to society isn't necessarily the victim being the one who is being persuaded, but the one who is doing the deed. In Columbus Georgia August 14, 2003, "A 14-year-old female high school student, visiting her former teachers at a middle school, is shot and killed by a 13-year-old male in a wooded area behind the middle school. Several youths went into the woods to see a fight between two boys, according to police, when one pulled out a gun and the observers fled and the female was shot." (National School Safety and Security Services) It is absurd to even think that a 13 year old boy would know how to use a gun, let alone have one. But again we see this type of behavior happening every day. "Three shootings that left two people dead and several injured over the weekend were committed by two young brothers who told police they have been on a "mission" to kill rival southeastern San Diego gang members since spring, a prosecutor said yesterday." (J. Harry Jones) This story was a headline in the San Diego Tribune August 19, 2004. Don't we see what's going on here? Children need to know right from wrong and need to know when enough is enough. Gangs are taking over, slowly but surely. When is it going to stop?

Although racism seems to be more a thing of the past, it still is very much alive today. People would tend to think that adults who are mature and who know better, would stray away from their "need" to put down others because of their skin color when they were at a younger age. Not the case. It is just as apparent in adults as it is in children, perhaps more. In American History X, the main character, who is Caucasian, gets into a fight with an African American man and kills him. He feels no remorse, no guilt , no pain, nothing. He simply smile when the cops come to take him away. This is a direct reflection of society. Although our nation has wandered away from the thought that white men are superior to black men, we haven't wandered far enough. We hear about race wars happening every day. I'm not sure it will ever be solved. I don't think it ever will. There are some places in the Southern United States that still have separate bathrooms for colored and whites, or separate drinking fountains. It's unbelievable to think that a nation that is so great can still allow this to happen. I mean, weren't the slaves given freedom over 200 years ago, and didn't the Civil Rights movement take place in the 60's? This is crazy. Our nation needs to finally realize that everyone is the same. There is no difference



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