American History X - David Belair
American History X is a very powerful anti-racism movie, its my second viewing and I believe its a film that should be viewed by all. I have lived a pretty sheltered life and have not had to deal with many of the issues we have studied in the class. I know few relatives that fought in the Vietnam war, the counter-coulture did not affect me in any way that I know of, I've never had to deal with growing up in an urban/ghetto setting as seen in Boyz in the Hood, and I've never known or had dealings with white suppremists as seen in American History X. I've seen all these movies before and know all this is out there via various media outlets, but I've never personally had to deal with these things in my day to day life. My life touches these things daily, I am sure, but not in a way that is overtly noticable.
As Danny comes to grips with his past and the hatred in his life, he quotes someone with the statement that hatred is baggage. I couldn't agree more. Its just a waste of time and never gets the hater anywhere except further into more and deeper hatred. I would like to think that most racism and hatred is a product of poverty and despair. Unfortunately their are many in this world that are rich and powerful that have these same racist beliefs. The skinheads as seen in American History X do not depict the worst of our worlds racism. They are wrong, but at least they are out in the open with their hatred. They are mostly naive, unintelligent youth that have been brainwashed into their beliefs. The group gives them acceptance. To me, the scariest people are those that are the hidden leaders of theses groups. They use their intelligence and money to lead and fund these groups while keeping their hands clean. As seen with the role of Cameron in American History X, the ring leaders, those that fund the group, those that are behind the scenes spewing their hatred and brainwashing naive youth to carry out their hatred, they are the ones we should be most scared of.
It was sad that Danny got caught up in the group and ultimately lost his life because of it. Did his death cause Derek to lose his ways and go back to his hating? I hope not, but emotions can do weird things to a persons thinking. It would be easy for that to be the case. In my ending he stays strong and helps others get out of the situation that caused him so much pain. I think he made it and was influential in his community and helped many of the youth in his area to get back on track.