>I just finished up watching American History X again for the umpteenth time. What a strong movie. Strong emotions spanning the spectrum. Hate. Sorrow. Pity. Remorse.
I find myself crying at the end, mainly because it’s such a tragedy. The question remains though, why do I give in to watching movies like American History X, Schindler’s List, Milk and other movies like them?
They teach a lesson.
I will admit, at times, I have felt a little bit of racism coming out of myself. I was brought up in a household where black people were called the ‘N’ word. I even called a black kid the ‘N’ word when I was in preschool. Man… did I ever get it for that. I just didn’t know any better. I heard the word every day. I know better now.
So back to the movie…
American History X… it’s a movie about some Nazi skinheads in a family. The older brother goes to jail for killing a black guy who was breaking into his car. While in jail, he gets shower raped by the white supremacist gang and with the help of a former teacher, comes to realize that his skinhead way of life wasn’t just worth it. In the meantime, his little brother, who is in high school, does a book report on ‘My Mein Kampf’. The little brother is just as bad of a skinhead as his older brother. So when he turns in that report, the former teacher of the older brother is brought in to steer him the right way, and starts by giving him a essay to write. His essay basically says that it’s not worth it to hate. Such a powerful thing for someone young to learn.
The tragedy comes when the older brother gets out of jail and things seems to be going in the right direction for both brothers, the younger brother gets shot in the boys bathroom at his school, essay in hand. That the lessons of not being a hater came too little too late.
So again, why watch a movie like this? Maybe it’s to teach us a lesson that it’s never to early to teach both ourselves and the others around us that hate isn’t good. What we all have to realize is that we might look different, act different and talk different, but we are all really the same. It doesn’t matter if we are black, white, brown, yellow, gay, straight, man, woman, whatever… we are all the same. We all have fears and frustrations. We just need tolerance and understanding for the others that do as well.
Hate is taught at an early age. Hate is what’s caused most of the world’s problems (that and economic factors). We must take it upon ourselves to teach tolerance to the young impressionable minds of the planet and not tolerate those who hate. We have to educate, not hate. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so we shouldn’t expect everyone to be tolerant right off the bat.
Tolerance and acceptance comes with education, time and patience.