American History X, Ned Rupp
American History X, despite its best effort to shun racism, instead reinforced some of the very stereotypes which they were trying to debunk. For example, with the exception of Dr. Sweeney, every black actor or actress was either in a gang, in jail, or was made out to be a "thug". We see this early on in the movie when Danny walks into the bathroom and sees three black kids beating up one defenseless white kid. Verbal threats are thrown at Danny, arguably unnecessarily, from the three black kids, and Danny blows his cigarette smoke in one of the kid's faces instead of threatening the three kids or fighting back (I guess it can be argued that him blowing the smoke could be some sort of "challenge" or degradation, but I think its better than saying racist threats back, or trying to physically fight back). We find out later that the kid who Danny blew his smoke at actually ends up shooting and killing Danny. I think the movie, perhaps without meaning to, portrays most of the black actors and actresses in the movie as being apathetic and willing to kill over the smallest thing. Danny was supposed to be the bad guy when he first blew the smoke at the beginning of the movie, when I thought it was really the other kids who should have been "bad". Danny never threatens those kids again in the movie, but still he is shot. I think also they made Dr. Sweeney black to avoid being an overtly racist movie; he was the only person we see of authority that is black in the movie, don't you think there would be other teachers or administrators who were something other than white? All in all I think this movie was definitely trying to portray an anti-racist message, but they still reinforced some of the stereotypes which they were trying to prove false.