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This film takes place in the early 1970’s during a time when the school has just been integrated so that both white and black students go to school together. Racism was especially prominent during the 1970’s. Denzel Washington is one of the main characters in the film. He plays the part of Herman Boone, who is hired as the T.C. Williams High football coach over a white coach in Alexandria, Virginia. Tensions are at an all-time high and the team must band together and find a way to be successful.
In regards to sociological concepts, this film’s theme is mainly about racial prejudice, racism, stereotypes, and discrimination. The way racial prejudice functions and is depicted in Remember the Titans reflects what occurred and was going on during those times in American history. For example, in the film, when Coach Boone is made the head coach instead of Coach Yoast the white players are very angry and then are prejudice against Coach Boone because he is black. The white players are also afraid that the black players will get more playing time than them because Coach Boone is the head coach. During this time, of course, segregation had ended and white and black students were permitted to go to school together but racial prejudice hadn’t diminished at all. This time period was was one of the biggest turning points in American history. In the film, Remember the Titans, discrimination is also a huge theme that goes along in regards to sociological concepts. For instance, Coach Boone is threatened that he will be fired if he loses a game. Another example is when Gerry’s girlfriend, Emma, is hesitant and does not initially shake Julius’ hand. The third and final example I’ll use is when the people wouldn’t let some of the characters in the restaurant because they were either black or were white but hanging around and friends with the blacks. There are stereotypical comments throughout the film like blacks are often called animals and the comment is made that “all head coaches are white.”
The acts of prejudice and discrimination are reduced however throughout the film. There are quite a few examples of the reduction of both. Firstly, Coach Boone ensures all of his team that playing time would be given to the people who deserve it, regardless of their race. Another example, which is also kind of humorous, is when the team is boarding the bus and Coach Boone tells all the kids on the team that he is their daddy now and their brothers are their teammates. This teaches the team to view each other equally. Playing off of that example, towards the end of the movie when Julius goes to visit the hospital and see Gerry, the nurse says “no one but family is allowed” and he says, “but he’s my brother”. That was one of my favorite scenes and lines of the entire movie. Throughout the movie, there were key moments that stood out that seemed to play big parts in reducing prejudice and discrimination. For the first example, when Rev and Louie both shared an interest in music, which lead to singing in the dining room and on the bus. Eventually, the team as a whole comes onto the field chanting and dancing. The second example is when Emma shakes Julius’ hand after she initially refused to shake it. Another example of prejudice and discrimination being reduced is when Gerry insists on playing basketball with Julius even after Gerry’s mother says no. The last example I’ll use is when Petey is getting beat up and the others stand up for him.
There were many difficulties faced throughout the entire movie, by everyone from the team to Coach Boone. For example, at the start of the movie both the whites and blacks ignored each other, which caused them to not play together as a team. They came together at camp, but there were still racial issues back in the “real world” after they left camp. The team also lost their captain, Gerry, to a very unfortunate injury caused by a car accident. Coach Boone faced difficulties throughout the movie just like his team. For starters, the white players initially didn’t want to be coached by Coach Boone. He had to get the team to mix together and start playing as a team. He also had to deal with the threats of being fired if he lost any football games as I mentioned earlier.
Remember the Titans is one of the greatest, if not the greatest sports movies of all time. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and not just because of the aspect of football and sports, but for the social issues that are brought up throughout the movie and how a team comes together to fight them and overcome the odds. It is very inspiring and even just thinking about it and writing this paper I have the urge to watch the movie again. The only thing that I would change and I’m not even sure if I’d want to do this to the story but I’d maybe change the fact that Gerry got paralyzed. But that tragedy happening really brought the team even closer and Gerry didn’t let that accident happening ever stop him from being successful in life, which is very inspiring.
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