The Theme of Racism in "Freedom Writers"

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 564 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Sep 1, 2023

Words: 564|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Sep 1, 2023

Table of contents

  1. The Stark Reality of Racism
  2. Impact on Characters' Lives
  3. A Journey Towards Empathy
  4. Conclusion: A Call to Confront Racism

Racism, a deeply ingrained and systemic issue, continues to plague societies around the world. In the film "Freedom Writers," directed by Richard LaGravenese, the pervasive nature of racism takes center stage as it chronicles the real-life experiences of a dedicated teacher and her racially diverse students. This essay delves into the portrayal of racism in the movie, examining how it is depicted, the impact it has on the characters, and the transformative journey towards empathy and understanding.

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The Stark Reality of Racism

"Freedom Writers" unflinchingly portrays the stark reality of racism through the lens of high school students from different racial backgrounds. The film illustrates the tension and animosity that arise when individuals from diverse ethnicities are thrust into the same environment. From derogatory slurs to physical confrontations, the movie exposes the harshness of discrimination and the way it permeates the lives of these young characters.

The initial reluctance of the students to interact with one another based on racial lines highlights the deeply ingrained stereotypes and prejudices that shape their perceptions. By explicitly depicting these racial tensions, the film encourages viewers to confront the uncomfortable truths of racism and its impact on both the victims and the perpetrators.

Impact on Characters' Lives

Racism in "Freedom Writers" has a profound impact on the characters' lives, shaping their identities and influencing their choices. Erin Gruwell, the dedicated teacher portrayed by Hilary Swank, witnesses firsthand the emotional toll that racism takes on her students. The characters' stories reflect the broader experiences of marginalized communities as they grapple with poverty, gang violence, and limited opportunities.

The character of Eva, in particular, exemplifies the complex relationship between racism and identity. Eva's transformation from a reluctant participant in class to a vocal advocate against racial prejudice showcases the empowerment that comes from recognizing one's worth beyond stereotypes. Her narrative underscores the importance of breaking free from the cycle of racism in order to reclaim one's agency and self-worth.

A Journey Towards Empathy

Amidst the stark portrayal of racism, "Freedom Writers" also highlights the potential for change and empathy. Erin Gruwell's innovative teaching methods, which include exposing her students to literature that mirrors their experiences, create a space for dialogue and self-reflection. Through these lessons, the students begin to understand the shared struggles that transcend racial lines.

The film's depiction of Anne Frank's diary as a powerful tool for empathy resonates deeply. By connecting their own experiences to Anne's, the students recognize the universality of suffering and the common desire for understanding. This realization marks a turning point in their journey towards breaking down the barriers of racism and forging genuine connections with one another.

Conclusion: A Call to Confront Racism

"Freedom Writers" is a poignant exploration of the impact of racism on individuals and the transformative power of education and empathy. By confronting the harsh realities of discrimination, the film challenges viewers to acknowledge the systemic injustices that persist in society. Through the characters' experiences, the movie emphasizes that combating racism requires more than just tolerance; it demands active engagement, understanding, and a commitment to dismantling deeply ingrained biases.

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The journey of Erin Gruwell and her students serves as an inspiration for all, urging us to question our own biases and take meaningful action against racism. As the characters in "Freedom Writers" learn, only by breaking down the walls that divide us can we truly build a world that celebrates diversity, embraces understanding, and paves the way for a more equitable future.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Theme of Racism in “Freedom Writers”. (2023, September 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“The Theme of Racism in “Freedom Writers”.” GradesFixer, 01 Sept. 2023,
The Theme of Racism in “Freedom Writers”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
The Theme of Racism in “Freedom Writers” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Sept 01 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
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