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American History X: A Review

American History X I chose the movie American History X because of it’s brutally graphic examples of racism, hate, and deviance. This movie “crosses the line” of the norm of society and digs deep into theories of prejudice and deviance. American History X shows the importance of what happens when the cycle of affluence is not broken and an impressionable young teen follows in the footsteps of hate. We have all been there it is just to what degree or extreme; the views that we have today on race and prejudice were formed somehow, with some belief and influence, we weren’t born this way.

This movie is a great example of where racism stems from and how it can be formed both consciously and unconsciously, making a perfect Sociology and the ways it affects humanity can be held as a positive or a negative. Racial tensions among people exist and are demonstrated in all kinds of ways and in varying degrees. The views of some can be very influential to those without purpose or cause. Tragic events can spur a type of behavior or thought process that is skewed by ones pain or anger. These are just a few areas of what the movie American History X touches on.

The primary sociological behavior displayed in this movie is deviance, which is defined as an individual going against the norms of society. Norms are a standard to a particular society or group as displayed here with race. The father in this movie, Dennis Vineyard, was a firefighter who worked for his community and while putting out a fire was killed by African American drug dealers. While raising his children, he instilled his thoughts, beliefs and opinions of different races, holding a certain perspective about a group of people that he described as a parasite.

He believed that a type of society driven rule that is to allow for a fair balance to a societies imperfections known as Affirmative Action, causes a deviant yet nonviolent view of black society. A conversation at the dinner table that leads to an outcome of disgust, anger and even fear due to the nature of an open minded being. The lack of life’s experiences can sometimes form a mind to accept many interpretations and can lead to a sense of brainwashing. Then the turning point in where you have a young man, Derek Vinyard, is stricken a blow in life by the loss of his father, mentor and care giver.

The story unfolds from there where you have a deviant behavior of feeling, a disgust for another race, to implementing and acting out violent acts of those thoughts. This all begins with Derek’s angry interview to the local news station about his fathers death. The thought process of why such a tragedy has happened causes Derek to put blame on the race instead of the person in general. This is an example of the Frustration-Agression theory of prejudice where he is scapegoat to blame the easy target the black man versus the drug dealer who killed his father.

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