What does it take for someone to move from a position of hate and racism to a position of tolerance and respect like the transformation that occurred in Derek?
George Bernard Shaw once said, “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Its true, people that will not change to make something better of themselves will or cannot change anything. But Derek did. American History X is a story in which the view of hate changed for the two brothers. Derek and Danny, the two brothers were in a group in which they follow the Nazi’s way of living. Hating people who are different such as different races. But when Derek was send to prison, his experiences contributed to his change of heart. To be able to change your state, it needs to be your wish, as well as knowing that change is the solution. Derek moments in prison led to become friend with a person of a different race. As any man bonding, basketball and girls will be the start of any relationship. Lamont, an African American man, as well as working with Derek in prison, made Derek realize that all men are alike. As the days passed, Lamont and Derek keep on bonding over basketball and among other things, made Derek realize that people are not very different just because they have another skin color. When Derek got raped in the movie, the one that helped him was Lamont, which was Derek’s last step to come into realization that people help out each other no matter what your skin or religion is.
|Derek and Lamont|
You ask what does it take for someone to change, well in the movie the answer is basically answered as Danny quotes Abraham Lincoln, or as I'm quoting Danny’s last words: “So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time. It's just not worth it. Derek says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. He says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong. So I picked a guy I thought you'd like. 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” When we grow up society or the friends and people that influence our every day life made us realize what’s right and wrong, and because of Cameron and Derek’s Dad, Derek himself became a person that does not think for himself, he thinks what ever influenced him to be a Nazi. But as he realizes what’s true, and starts think what is best for him and gets away from the bad influence then you can see how he changes.
"Has anything you have done, made your life better?" - Dr. Sweeney