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Remember the Titans is one of my favorite movies because it is an inspiring story about defeating and overcoming prejudice. I chose this film to show the conflict theory behind it. In this film the battle between the races for limited positions and scarce resources is clearly noticed. Conflict theory is “a theoretical framework in which society is viewed as composed of groups that are competing for scarce resources”. In the beginning of the film, it is evident that there are two separate groups, (blacks and whites) fighting over positions on the team. Another conflict in this film is over who will be head coach of the football team, and there is conflict over who will be allowed to play certain positions on the team. The Caucasian coach, Bill Yoast, had been the head coach up until the school became integrated. All of the players on the team where Caucasian up until this point, as well. When the school is integrated, there is conflict over how the roles will change now that African Americans are allowed on the team. Before the integration, Caucasians and African Americans in Virginia went to school and played football separately. Caucasians were what Karl Marx would call the Bourgeoisie, the have’s of this time, while African Americans would be the Proletariats, the have not’s.
Sadly, part of American culture is that racism was so strong at this time. For hundreds of years there were cultural differences in America, which contained learned racism, strong hate towards other cultures and pure ignorance. The time of enslavement was over in 1970, but the effects still lingered on. This background of racism just elevated the separation of the races even more. The Caucasians on the team felt entitled to their positions, and they believed the African Americans didn’t deserve to play on a team with them. In fact, there a number of times in the movie when Caucasian players basically refuse to play because of their new teammates. However, they cannot afford the leisure of not playing, which would result in being not eligible to play college football, so they have no choice but to compete with the African American players. For African Americans, on the other side, this was the opportunity they needed. They desperately wanted to fulfill these limited positions to show the Caucasians of the world that they are equal as players and people. This resulted in more conflict during the film.
Coach Herman Boone, an African American, feels the pressure of not only obtaining the only position as head coach, but he must also do better than what would ever be expected of any Caucasian in this position. If he fails, or more specifically loses one game, the school board, consisting of all Caucasians, would have him fired, and they would feel justified in their racism against African Americans believing they cannot perform as well as a Caucasian could. As Coach Boone is hired as head coach, replacing Bill Yoast, the Caucasian football players become even more fearful of losing their positions while the African Americans became more confident about the ability to gain theirs, which I feel would be a stereotype for the African American players. Both groups were unaware that Coach Boone would choose players solely based on skill, and not on a race. This way of thinking was totally new to both groups at the time.
Remember the Titans is one of my favorite movies and doing this paper showed me the in depth social conflicts in the film that I never noticed.
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