Theme of Racism in Freedom Writers

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 806 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 806|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph 1
  3. Body Paragraph 2
  4. Body Paragraph 3
  5. Conclusion


The film Freedom Writers, directed by Richard LaGravenese and released in 2007, is a poignant exploration of the multifaceted issues plaguing the American educational system, particularly in economically disadvantaged communities. Central to the narrative is the theme of racism, which permeates the lives of the students at Wilson High School. Based on the true story of Erin Gruwell and her students, the film showcases how deeply ingrained prejudices manifest in the daily experiences of these young individuals. Racism, in this context, is not merely an abstract concept but a tangible force that shapes interactions, opportunities, and self-perceptions. This essay delves into how Freedom Writers addresses the theme of racism, examining the interpersonal relationships among students, the systemic obstacles they face, and the transformative power of education as a tool for combating racial prejudice.

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Body Paragraph 1

One of the most striking elements of Freedom Writers is its depiction of the interpersonal conflicts fueled by racial tensions among the students. At Wilson High School, students are segregated into racial cliques that rarely interact with one another, fostering an environment of hostility and mistrust. The film vividly portrays how these divisions are not merely social but also extend to violent confrontations, with students often engaging in gang-related activities as a means of asserting their identities and protecting their communities. For instance, the character of Eva Benitez exemplifies the internal struggle faced by many students. As a Latina, she feels compelled to uphold the expectations of her racial group, even if it means perpetuating cycles of violence and prejudice. Through her evolving relationship with her peers and her teacher, Erin Gruwell, the film illustrates the profound impact that a supportive and understanding educational environment can have on breaking down racial barriers. Gruwell's efforts to foster unity among her students by encouraging them to share their personal stories reveal the underlying similarities in their experiences, thereby humanizing those who were once seen as "the other."

Body Paragraph 2

Beyond interpersonal relationships, Freedom Writers also sheds light on the systemic racism embedded within the educational system. The film portrays a school administration that is largely indifferent to the needs of its minority students, often prioritizing resources and opportunities for those deemed more likely to succeed. This institutional neglect is evident in the outdated textbooks and inadequate facilities provided to Erin Gruwell's class, in stark contrast to the more affluent, predominantly white student body. The low expectations placed on these students by the administration further exacerbate their sense of disenfranchisement and hopelessness. Gruwell's determination to provide her students with the education they deserve challenges these systemic inequities. By introducing them to literature that reflects their own struggles and encouraging critical thinking, she empowers them to envision a future beyond the limitations imposed by their socio-economic and racial backgrounds. The film thus critiques the broader educational policies that perpetuate racial disparities, advocating for a more equitable and inclusive approach to teaching.

Body Paragraph 3

The transformative power of education in combating racism is a central theme in Freedom Writers. Erin Gruwell's unconventional teaching methods and unwavering belief in her students' potential serve as a catalyst for change, both within the classroom and in the students' lives. Through the use of journals, she encourages her students to express their thoughts and experiences, fostering a sense of agency and self-worth. This practice not only helps them process their traumas but also builds empathy and understanding among classmates from different racial backgrounds. The introduction of books like The Diary of Anne Frank and Zlata's Diary serves to bridge the gap between the students' lived experiences and broader historical narratives of persecution and resilience. These literary works provide a lens through which students can reflect on their own circumstances, drawing parallels and finding inspiration in the stories of others who have faced and overcome oppression. The educational journey depicted in the film underscores the potential of a culturally responsive pedagogy to dismantle prejudices and foster a more inclusive and compassionate society.

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In conclusion, Freedom Writers offers a profound commentary on the pervasive nature of racism within the American educational system and its impact on the lives of students. Through its exploration of interpersonal relationships, systemic inequities, and the transformative power of education, the film highlights the multifaceted challenges faced by minority students and the potential for meaningful change. Erin Gruwell's dedication to her students and her innovative teaching methods serve as a testament to the power of empathy, understanding, and perseverance in overcoming deeply rooted prejudices. Freedom Writers ultimately advocates for a more equitable and inclusive educational environment, one that acknowledges and addresses the diverse needs of all students. By doing so, it challenges viewers to reflect on their own roles in perpetuating or dismantling the systemic barriers that continue to affect marginalized communities. Through this lens, the film remains a powerful and relevant call to action for educators, policymakers, and society at large.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Theme of Racism in Freedom Writers. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
“Theme of Racism in Freedom Writers.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
Theme of Racism in Freedom Writers. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Jul. 2024].
Theme of Racism in Freedom Writers [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 24]. Available from:
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