An Analysis of White Supremacy in American History X

An Analysis of White Supremacy in American History X

Document details
Category: Arts and Humanities Essay
Subcategory: Music
Words: 1440
Pages: 2

White supremacy is "the social, economic, and political repression and exploitation of colored peoples by white people, based on notions of racial superiority" (Webster's). White supremacists are people who are embedded in these beliefs, and are motivated to act upon them. In the movie American History X, we can see a prime example of white supremacy. As we have all seen in the news, white supremacists commit crimes. These crimes are driven by their beliefs and, most often, hate. What is a hate crime? Dr. Jack Levin, a renowned professor from Northeastern University, defines it best. "Three or four teenage boys have nothing to do. They walk into a neighborhood where they know the enemy lives. One of them takes a baseball bat and bludgeons the victim, and the others join in. That's a hate crime" (Hill B.1). Dr. Levin goes on to define the "enemy" as "individuals who are differentiated by religion, culture, ethnicity, or sexual orientation" (Hill B.1). In January, 2003, three National Guardsmen in Medford, Oregon (Andrew Lee Patterson, 24, Aaron St. James, 26, and James Ritchie, 21) committed such "hate crimes". By comparing American History X and the crimes committed in Medford, we can see that white supremacy breeds hate and violence. The main character in American History X, Derek Vinyard (played by Edward Norton), and the three Guardsmen all had a similar upbringing. Derek was a young white boy growing up in Venice Beach, California. He grew up in a white, suburban, middle class neighborhood. The three Guardsmen all were raised in similar homes, although James Ritchie's family history was more violent. Ritchie's father was a strict disciplinarian, and he raised him in a "do as I say, or not at all" world. He was violently beaten at age 12 by a group of three black teenagers with baseball bats. The police report says that he was chased and beaten for at least 45 minutes. He spent 2 weeks in...

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