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Many movies focused around the theme of racism often show how racist characters are able to change. From start to end, racist characters grow and change their mindset to become more accepting of different races. They begin to see people for who they really are and begin developing a new perspective for people. This is shown in a number of movies including Remember the Titans, Gran Torino and American History X. Characters in these movies are examples of how people can eventually come to disregard racial prejudice once they learn that race does not define who somebody is.
Remember the Titans is an excellent example of how people can grow to change their mindset towards racism. Remember the Titans shows how different races can learn to accept each other. When two football teams of different races are forced to integrate and become one team, racial prejudice divides the them. Racial tension begins when the “all white” team is told they would be getting a new black coach. The team’s new coach, Coach Boone, had been quickly promoted and replaced the teams previous white coach. The captain of the previous white team, Gerry, was strongly against the idea of being integrated with the “black” team at first. As the team spends more time together, the team becomes less racially divided and they slowly become more accepting of each other. Coach Boone takes notice of the racial division and puts the team through intense training and takes them for a run to Gettysburg Cemetery where he gives a motivational speech. Gerry was stuck in his racist mindset up until he heard the speech and got to know his teammates better. From this point on, Gerry and the team’s perspective towards one another had been changed and all racial prejudice had slowly washed away. In the end, Gerry and the “black” team captain, Jullius, end up becoming really good friends. Remember the Titans shows how people are able to change their racist mindset and perspective of different races.
The main antagonist in Gran Torino, Walt, is a clear example of how racist characters are able to change. Being a veteran of the Korean War, Walt holds racial prejudice towards people of Asian descent. At the beginning of the movie, Walt is very cold towards his neighbours who happen to be Korean. After an incident where Walt helps them out, his neighbours gain respect for him but he does not take well to it. Even though the family is very nice towards Walt, He still only sees them for their race and ignores the fact that they’re very nice people. As things start to progress, Walt slowly comes to know the family and begins to show more respect towards them. After an incident involving Walt’s Gran Torino, Thao, the boy from the family next door, is ordered to assist Walt with chores around the house. Walt was not very fond of the idea at first but he still allowed it. As the days go by, Walt is able to see Thao for the kind of person he really is and they begin to build a solid friendship. Walt begins to ignore any racial prejudice and starts warming up to the family. By the end of the movie, Walt becomes very close with the family and sees them for more than just their race. Walt is a clear example proving that racist characters often change their attitude and perspective towards different races.
American History X also exhibits how characters are able to readjust their racist outlook. The movie is based around two brothers, Derek and Danny Vinyard who begin as very racist characters. As kids, Danny and Derek were raised by a racist father which resulted in the brothers having a negative preconception towards different races. After their father had been killed by a group of black drug dealers, the brother’s negative feelings towards other races just got stronger and drove Derek to join and lead a Neo-Nazi cult. Due to the racist character Derek had become, he ended up shooting two black men when they tried stealing his truck. This situation resulted in one of the men dying and Derek had been sentenced to three years in jail. This was a very significant time for Derek as he began to reevaluate his preconception of different races when he was forced to share a jail cell with a black man. Derkes trip to prison caused him to see the person he had become which lead him to change Danny’s racist attitude. Once again, characters have been able to accept people of all races as seen with Derek and Danny.
To conclude, characters always have the potential to change their racist mindset. As seen in Remember the Titans, Gerry was strongly opposed to accepting any of the black players. In the end, Gerry’s whole outlook towards race had been changed for the good. This is seen again in Gran Torino with Walt and Thao. Walt has always had a racist attitude up until he was able to get to know Thao better. Thao was able to help Walt rethink his attitude towards different races. American History X shows how Derek was abe to change his racist views and even go back to change his brothers outlook. Characters in these movies are examples of how people can eventually come to disregard racial prejudice once they learn that race does not define who somebody is.
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