American History X Essay

2184 Words 9 Pages
American History X

American History X (1998) illustrates how segregation is aggravated by missing father figures as well as the herd mentality of the characters in the film. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of the herd mentality states that people need a concept or a worldview to adopt in order to give meaning to their lives. This herding of people who choose to adopt this certain ideal or ideals in effect causes the stifling of individual thoughts or creativity because everyone chooses to think a certain way (Floyd). This mindset that people are attracted to is not always chosen or forced but is rather seen as an obligation because of loyalties certain people have to others.

Derek Vinyard, played by Edward
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He wants to spread hate and violence against the minorities without being directly involved in it. So he lets the kids do the dirty work. Cameron Alexander is exploiting people’s need to belong to a group and then using that group to further his own hateful vendettas. The D.O.C. just perpetuated the segregation of races by giving white people a herd that they could join. The D.O.C. responds to violence with violence and to hate with hate. It worsened racial tensions in the community. In one scene of the movie, Derek challenges the black people on the basketball court to a game “for the courts”. Whichever race lost is not allowed back on the courts anymore. Derek and the white people win the game and told the “niggers to get the f*ck off their courts”. The herd mentality of the members of each race just makes the segregation situation worse.
This herd mentality follows Derek to prison when he has been sentenced for killing two black men trying to break into his jeep. As soon as Derek Vinyard enteres prison he starts to associate with the Neo-Nazi’s because that is the herd he is attracted to. He is protected by the Neo-Nazi gang of white supremacists in prison as well. However, the lines between these herds became blurred when Derek saw the Neo-Nazis doing business with blacks and Mexicans. Derek does not approve of that and got angry at the Neo-Nazis for associating with minorities. This disagreement leads to the sodomy

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