Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Racism to respect - Blog Post

Mateus Pianowski
Topic: "What does it take for someone to move from a position of hate and racism to a position of tolerance and respect like the transformation that occurred in Derek?" 

     In my Acdemic Leadership class, we have watched the movie "American History X," which contains a powerful lesson about racial hate and its possible outcomes. I it tell the story of how Derek, the main character's brother, changed from a radical racist to a white man that shows respect the other cultures and people. As we watched the movie, I noticed exactly four reasons that took Derek to change his prejudicial behavior and these are: contact, outcomes of hate and reflection.

     Before talking about the motives it is important to state that the change that Derek made was actually something drastic due to the fact that the he was a radical racist. We can put him at the second level of the pyramid of hate, because he led a small group of Neo Nazi Skinheads, he killed 2 black men, and invaded a Korean market. What I am trying to say is that these reasons that are going to be presented are somethings that are so strong that can change the opinion of man like Derek.

    Contact is the first and the most important reason why Derek changed his mind is that he had contact with a friendly a black man when he went to prison after killing those two men. Until he went to prison, the character never had any friendly contact with a person of different race, the only contact was the violent ones caused by his prejudice. Derek never thought he was so much alike to a black man, thus he always believed on white supremacy. Without contact between races, ignorance is created and people tend to separate from each other. One man that sought this contact was Martin Luther K. Jr with his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In this speech, he says that he dreams of that one day a white chid and a black child can hold hands in peace.

    The second reason is the outcomes of hate, these can be serious consequences that can happen to a person as a response to the racist acts of a said person. In the movie, Derek's hate caused him to become a victim of rape in the prison showers which made him reflect on what could he do to stop and prevent these bad things to happen to him. These bad consequences can change the thought of racist people based on how terrible they affected them, so they can stop. Unfortunately, Derek lived a life of extreme prejudice which also caused his brother to get shot. 

    Finally, there is reflection. Derek came to a point of reflection after he was gang raped and was asked by his mentor the following: "has anything you've done made your life better?" This is where Derek notices that all this hating he was carrying never helped him or his family and then he decides to stop with the racism and take care of himself and his family. People that are in the middle of this change of thought reflect like Derek in order to fully change and  to see what is their next step to prevent that racism impacts their life again. After reflection, some people should take help from anti-racist groups like SHARP to completely erase their thoughts of hate.  

    My twitter: @MateusPianowski
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