An analysis of the movie “Remember the Titans”
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This paper will analyze the sociological issues that are brought up in the movie “Remember the Titans.” Based on a true story, this movie encompasses many of the issues that were dominating in our society in the past. Although a majority of the issues have been overcome, it is still seen in some instances today. Before exploring these issues, it is important to develop an understanding of the movie. The movie begins with an African American head football coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) being hired to replace a white football coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) who has decided to move on to other coaching opportunities. Due to some disagreement amongst the white players on the team, Coach Boone offers Coach Yoast an assistant coordinating coach position, to which he eventually accepts. Coach Boone, a tough but fair head coach, sends the integrated football team to a two-week training camp, in hopes to build a relationship among the races. Unfortunately, the two clash and fights break out. More specifically, the leader of the white player and the black players are in constant disagreement. Disgusted by their actions, Coach Boone disciplines his players by ordering them to a long run to Gettysburg.
There, he took the time to speak to the players about the history of the two races and how we must all get along and stand up for a cause. Coach Boone’s speech worked as the players begin to build a community and get along. We begin to see white and black players sticking up for each other. In addition, their performance on the field is extraordinary. The team makes it to the State playoffs with an undefeated record, and later to the state championship. During their celebration the team captain (white player) is seriously injured in a car accident. When the black player who he constantly clashed with at the beginning of the movie goes sees him, the nurse refused anyone from entering. The white player assures to the nurse that its okay because he’s my “brother.” The Titans go on to winning the championship game. As mentioned previously, there are various issues that are brought up in the movie. The three that will be of discussion are racism, discrimination, and peer pressure. Racism and prejudice are the main issues in the film. Racism is the belief that the color of ones skin makes one different and a specific color is more superior to other racial groups.
Prejudice, can be viewed as a preconceived opinion based on a reason or past experience. It is essentially making pre judgments or assumption of a particular group of people. The town in which the high school was located was extremely racist to the African Americans. When it was first found out that the high school was going to allow integration, riots broke out in attempts to express how disgusted they were. More specifically, the members on the football team were causing conflict because of their new African American team members. For instance, one of the white players said, “I don’t want to play with these black animals.” This shows the pre-conceived idea the whites had on the black players. They assumed they were a different kind of species because that’s what they had been told throughout their life. Another example of racism is when the white quarterback makes racial assumption about Julius, the African American quarterback. He questioned Julius’s family, saying hat he had no parents and such. Lastly, during meals, the white player would refuse to eat at the same table as the African American players. The next issue I would like to discuss is discrimination.
The first instance that made me realize that this movie portrayed the sociological issue of discrimination is when the white players threw rocks at Coach Boone’s house. This was done in hopes to hurt Coach Boone and his family just because his skin is dark. Another example of discrimination is when Julius (the black football player) walked by a couple of light skin ladies and said, “hello.” The ladies completely ignored him, which shows a clear act of discrimination. Had Julius been of lighter skin, he would have been acknowledged. Another form of discrimination that is present in the movie is, sexual discrimination. This is shown in the locker room when the white quarterback calls a white teammate of his “sunshine” because he is gay. This type of discrimination was further portrayed when a group of players felt uncomfortable being in the same room as Ronnie because he was homosexual. The last issue that I will present is peer pressure. Peer pressure is when one is pressured by his/her friend to do what they want you to do. Towards the end of the movie, Ryan Hurst who played the white quarterback, Bertier, was involved in a car accident due to peer pressure.
Bertier wanted to show off in front of his friends who pressured him into speeding off. Because of this he crashed into a truck and was paralyzed from the waist down. Another instance of peer pressure is when the captain of the football team had the choice to both go out with the girls or stay and get drunk with his teammates. The captain chose to stay with the teammates, which I feel was the better decisions. He did not give in to the pressure, which showed leadership and unity with his teammates. Racism and discrimination is contributed to our nations history in feeding our generation with disgusting ways of life that allow them to form a hate towards another race. Kids learn from their parents. If parents are racist, kids will grow up with the same mindset. This is essentially what is happening in the movie. I feel like this movie depicted the harsh realities that were present in the fifties, sixties and seventies in sports as well. I am confident that a way to reduce prejudice (racism and discrimination) is through sustained contact. It is the ongoing contact between two people or two groups of people over time where you learn about the other and what they are actually like.
This is why Coach Boone was sure to get the teammates to interact with each other in any way possible. Moreover, Coach Boone forces the black and white players to sit next to each other on the way back from the camp. He also assigns them a buddy in which they will learn everything about that person. Doing this eliminates any stereotypes that were in your head about that person. Another point I would like to mention is that if two groups of people are put into a situation where they are dependent on each other, they will less likely develop a false assumption of that other person. In order for the football team in the movie to win, they had to work together. Although the prejudice in the movie does not quite mirror the extent to which discrimination and such are played out today the principle is the same. If two teammates are in disagreement or are on “different pages” in order for the team to mesh as a whole, the two teammates must come to like each other. A retreat camp where the two focus on understanding each other rather than their competition on the field can do this.
Peer Pressure will always be a social issue involved in sports. Our peers influence us all, and this has a strong influence on the decision ones makes. On the playing fields, athletes feel intense pressure to outperform teammates. Overall, the movie presented above uses the American school football scene as a way to point out several social issues. The three talked about in this paper, are only three of many. Furthermore, the movie gives us hope because towards the end of the movie, the issues presented were overcome because everyone had a chance to get to know each other and consider the other person.