American History X is a great movie that portrays bias. stereotyping and conformance. Prejudice is negative attitudes toward others based on their gender. faith. race. or rank in a peculiar group. Prejudice involves beliefs and emotions that can turn into hatred. Having an sentiment or thought about a member of a group without truly cognizing that single is a portion of bias. Some people make judgements about a whole group of people without cognizing really much about them. Sometimes people are afraid of those who seem different from them and unluckily. they express that with name-calling and negative intervention. When people grow up with these thoughts. sometimes it’s difficult to acquire rid of them. Like in the film American History X. a male parent is sitting at the household dinner tabular array and states his sentiment of why he feels certain people of minority groups got their occupation. This influences how his kids feel.

Prejudice is a premature judgement. a positive or negative attitude towards a individual or group of people. which is non based on nonsubjective facts. The prejudgements are normally based on stereotypes. which are shared beliefs about the characteristic traits. attitudes. and behaviours of members of assorted societal groups including the premise that the members of such groups are normally all likewise. As the narrative line unfolds in American History X. the chief character of the narrative will recognize that non all people of a peculiar race are the same. A prejudgement may be based on an emotional experience we have had with a similar individual. kind of our ain personal stereotype. Stereotypes besides provide us with function outlooks.

How we expect the other individual or group to associate to us and to other people. Our civilization has many of ready made stereotypes such as leaders are dominant. chesty work forces. homemakers are nice but empty headed. adolescents are music loony and really smart people are eldritch. Sometimes a leader or homemaker or adolescent is slightly like the stereotype but it is an unfairness to automatically presume they all are.

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Bias can be in the signifier of negative put downs and helps those of us on top feel O.K.s about being at that place. Bias can be a hostile. resentful feeling or disfavor for person or an unjust blaming or degrading of others.

Along with bias and stereotypes. goes conformance. The more people already agree upon or portion a peculiar thought. the more easy a fledgling will turn to be converted to that thought. and the more hard it will be for one already converted to reject that thought

Summary of The Film

The film starts out through the eyes of Danny Vinyard. who idolizes his older brother Derek. Derek is seeking retaliation for his father’s slaying and firing a manner to vent his fury. His male parent was a fireman who was on responsibility one dark seting out a fire at a cleft house. His male parent was shot and killed by black drug nuts while contending a fire in a cleft house in a black vicinity. He blames all black people for the decease of his male parent. Derek hates anyone who is non a white Protestant. Later it is learned that it wasn’t merely his father’s decease that shaped him. but his father’s conversation at the dinner table one dark about racism.

Derek finds himself transformed by a doctrine of hatred as he turns into a adherent of a extremist group of a local white power motion. He becomes a leader in this white domination group called the DOC forming the other white childs in his vicinity under the regulation of a leader of the group named Cameron who stays behind the scene to maintain his record clean. The bootboyss that rule his group are converting and are a really bonding group. It is assumed in their universe that that all races stick together and are at undeclared war with all others. They are really much bias and all conform to the same stereotype.

Despite Derek’s intelligence. his violent actions end in a barbarous slaying and finally. a prison sentence. One dark two black childs effort to steal Derek’s auto. as the consequence of a resort area feud that took topographic point earlier. Derek fires his gun to kill and perpetrate violent actions.

which ends up in the decease of the two black childs who tried to steal his auto. He’s convicted of slaying and sent to prison for three old ages.

While in prison. Derek begins to see things in a different manner. While in gaol he learns some difficult truths about life from a fellow inmate and his old high school principal that takes particular involvement in him. Avery Brooks. the rule ask Derek a powerful inquiry. “Has any thing you’ve done changed your life? ” But. when Derek emerges with a desire to alter his attitude. he finds that words are non plenty.

Three old ages subsequently. everyone awaits Derek’s return. His female parent Doris who prays for his safety. his girlfriend Stacey who longs for his return. and most of all Danny who’s desperate for his brother’s love and counsel. yet is driven by his ain increasing white domination hatred. Danny who idolizes Derek has stepped into his places. Following the crowd of the white domination group the DOC. Avery Brooks the high school rule who has helped Derek besides tries to assist Danny by stating him to compose a paper on his brother in hope to do him see things in a different visible radiation.

Unbeknown to Danny. Derek is a changed adult male. Fresh from prison. he no longer positions hatred as a badge of award. Ashamed of his yesteryear he is now in a race to salvage Danny and the Vineyard household from the force he brought down upon them. His head is unfastened and sees the mistake of his ways. Upon reentering the existent universe. he must now turn his attendings to his younger brother Danny. who is fleetly heading down the same way as his brother. He tells Danny to listen to Avery Brooks the principal of the high school who has made Danny compose a paper on Derek. He besides tells Danny of the experience he had it gaol and how it has changed him. It is excessively late and in the terminal Danny is murdered in school one twenty-four hours by one of the younger brothers of whom Derek had murdered.

What is said at the terminal of the film seems to sum it up rather good. Hate is luggage. Life is excessively short to be pissed off all the clip. Derek says. ” Its ever good to stop the paper with a quotation mark. ” ” We are non enemies. but friends. We must non be enemies. Through passion may hold strained. it must non interrupt our bonds of fondness. The mysterious cords of memory will swell when once more touched as certainly they will be by the better angels of our nature. ” ( Lincoln. 1861 )

Psychological Principles

This school of psychological science that I believe this movie falls under is the school of behaviourism. Behaviorism views discernible. mensurable behaviour instead than internal mental procedures as the appropriate capable affair of psychological science. Stresses the cardinal functions of acquisition and the environment in finding behaviour. The film besides deals with societal psychological science. It defines the grounds of why and how we behave and emotions and experiencing we have. The why of how we feel. what we do and how we come about the determinations we make. It besides affects our attitudes. feelings and emotions that make us who we are and what we do.

Attitudes can be formed either positive or negative. When we hear parents. household. friends or teacher express positive or negative attitudes toward certain issues or people. we tend to accommodate the same attitudes as them. This is true in the film American History X when Derek listened to his father’s conversation at the dinner tabular array about racism.

In experimental acquisition. persons learn by detecting the behaviour of other and so copy that behaviour. This is true in the movie because the bootboyss of the group learn by detecting the others and acting the same manner. Observational acquisition consequences when people observe the behaviour of others and non the effects.

Derek uses stereotype thought because he believes that all black people are bad and has a batch of hatred because of how his male parent died. Derek besides learns to be portion of the neo Nazi group by patterning Cameron the organiser and caput of the DOC.

A person’s cognitive abilities. physical features. personality. beliefs. attitudes influence both his or her behaviour and environment. A person’s behaviour can impact his feelings about himself and his attitudes and beliefs about others. Much of a individual knows comes from the environmental resources such as telecasting. parents. and books. Environment besides affects behavior what a individual observes can strongly act upon what he does. But a person’s behaviour besides contributes to his environment.

On the dark Danny tells his brother that the black childs are interrupting into his auto he does non even think about what he is making. A instance of classical conditioning a signifier of larning that has powerful effects on attitudes likes and disfavors and emotional responses.

Conformity involves the changing of one’s attitude. sentiments. or behavior to fit the attitudes. sentiments. or behaviours of others. The force per unit areas to move like other people. sometimes despite our true feelings and desires. In American History X Derek. Danny and all the other tegument caputs are take on this thought to belong to the neo-nazi group. The scene in the film where the bootboyss destruct a vicinity food market shop that is been taken over by a minority group show the bootboyss conform to norms. These norms tell us what we should or ought to be believing. feeling. or making if we want to suit in with a peculiar group. Most people conform to norms without much thing about it.

Through the whole film Danny idolizes his brother and there for his ways can besides be contributed to societal psychological science. The presence of others influences the ideas. feelings and how he behaves. The anticipation theory can besides be related to Danny. He feels he is expected to be racist because of the state of affairs his brother is in. Because of the daily unmasking of his racialist feelings and the neo-nazi group he does non believe of anything else so he is in changeless exposure to negative feelings.

While Derek is in gaol and comes to recognize that all people are non the same that there is good and bad in everyone he changes his attitude and behaviour. Cognitive disagreement would come into consequence here. Derek becomes cognizant of his ways and alterations his behaviour. attitude and reduces the importance of racism in his life.

Accuracy of Psychology Portrayed

American History Ten shows bias. stereotyping and conformance excellent. It shows how Derek comes about to be prejudice and to hold his racial attitude. The film shows that in the universe of the skinhead neo Nazi. mottos replace thought. feeling and mindless hatred that is flooring. The bonding of this group portrays how conformance takes topographic point. Derek’s attitude. behaviour and addresss to the other childs persuade them to conform to the group. He makes them see things in his position. It shows how one individual can alter the ideas and feeling of person with a vulnerable head. The film besides shows a manner of interrupting the barbarous circle of hatred.

Between the two parts in the film. Derek’s male parents conversation at the dinner table showing bias toward a different race and how his male parent died shows how societal acquisition can come into consequence. Children learn from what they hear doing them to be prejudice and to pigeonhole other people. The neo-nazi group shared beliefs about the features of members of a different racial group. The thought made them all believe that all they are all likewise.

In the terminal the move tells the shows the truth that bias has no intrinsic worth. It merely harms those who feel its injury and finally injuries those who pattern it.


American History X is a move that takes bias. stereotyping and conformance and shows how each one can associate to the other. The movie makes you halt and believe about your ideas and emotions on these topics. Part of the last quotation mark of this move says a batch. That hatred is luggage. If we open our heads and see the universe as a whole we can so recognize that non everyone in the universe is the same because of their race. gender or faith or so forth. Being bias and pigeonholing people merely leads to harm. We should non conform to the beliefs of others if we feel otherwise. We should be who we are and non be persuaded to experience otherwise. American History X in the terminal shows us that no affair what societal group we belong to in society it does non intend that we all have the same features. attitudes or behaviour.

It merely goes to state that as we grow and experience things around us in our environment we tend to conform to the ways of society to organize our personality and attitudes. The more we educate our immature people and be good function theoretical accounts possibly so and merely so can we forestall a state of affairs like American History X signifier go oning. A perfect illustration of conformance is in the scene which we see the bootboyss adhering. They are led by Derek’s superb public speaking and fueled by drugs. beer. tattoos. and heavy metal and need all insecure people feel to belong to a motion greater so themselves. Together they feel that in their universe all races stick together and are at undeclared war with all others

My decision to this subject is that some people are unmindful to the emotional tones that they generate from their nescient use of stereotyped labels. I merely believe some people do non cognize it when they label person and it brings out an emotional tone or negative deduction. It’s all merely ignorance. Or what people have been taught turning up in a authorities that strives for being the normal and the best. Learning through unwilled messages. whether through school. games. and particularly telecasting. It is clip for people to unlearn what they have been taught and get down opening their heads about this peculiar topic. It is the nature of bias that is the ground why we have force in the universe.

I don’t think Derek would hold come to hold a alteration in attitude or behaviour had it non been for the experience he had in gaol. Coming full circle and recognizing the world that non everyone is the same and merely because of your race. faith or gender we all are persons. Derek was a merchandise of his environment. Having conformed to a group of neo-nazi people who do nil but see their universe and don’t think out side of it. This would be sort of like the stating believing out of the box. Until his ordeal in gaol he had experienced groupthink. A calamity had to go on in order for a cultural alteration to take topographic point.


Augustinos. M. ( 2001 ) . Understanding Prejudice Racism and Social Conflict. Pennsylvania: W. B. Saunder Company.

Ruscher. J. B. ( 2001 ) . Prejudiced communicating: A societal psychological position. New York: Guilford Press.

Welkos. R. W. ( 1998. October 21 ) . The Tin Line Between Fear and Hate. [ Online ] . Available: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. geocities. com/sunsetstrip/club. 3036/analysel. htm.

Wood. S. . & A ; Wood. E. ( 1999 ) . The Essential World of Psychology. Pine tree state: Allyn & A ; Bacon

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