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Prejudice Demoralization In Remember the Titans

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The Titans were flawless, in the sense that they were greater than the gods. They could not be killed, and thus they were invincible. Their universe was ruled with absolute power. The football team of T.C. Williams High School were the Titans of Alexandra, Virginia. Their football field was their universe and with such power, they controlled the field with merciless victory. This did not mean that the players were perfect, rather that together, unified perfection was achieved. In the film Remember the Titans, many social issues became points of focus, with racism predominantly being mentioned above all else.

The term “contact hypothesis” embodies the idea that groups of people do not like each other simply because they do not spend time together. Upon analyzing this term, racism floated around the idea that distinctive practices, beliefs and hereditary factors determine the social structure of one’s race. Furthermore, racism can be broken down to discursive racism, which is expressed in racialized meanings. “People say that it can ‘t work, black and white. Here, we make it work every day. We still have our disagreements, of course, but before we reach for hate, always, always, we remember the Titans.” (Yakin)The team captains in the film Gerry Bertier and arguably Julius Campbell consistently come into conflict regarding prejudice views of each other. Superiority is the basis of racism; it determines the systemic forms that categorizes privileges based on the color of skin. In the film, Gerry and Julius share a moment which disputes the stigma between the black and white players of the team. This representational racism diminished the stereotype that two different colored skin individuals were unable to recognize fallacies in racially structured society.

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In the movie Remember the Titans, the year 1971 was a challenging year for the town of Alexandria, Virginia. The film is set seventeen years after the implication of Brown v. Board of Education, which declared state laws that established separate schools for color and whites was unconstitutional. This law forced two schools to create T.C Williams High School. With this, a quoit had to be meant for a perfect ratio of how many whites and black were allowed leading positions in the school. A successful black coach Herman Boone is appointed the new head Coach for T.C Williams Football team. In doing so, the equally successful head coach Bill Yoast is asked to step down from his position. After his demotion, the predominant white football players refuse to play without him coaching the team; However, Yoast with some reluctance, takes the assistance coach position under Herman Boone. With the leadership of Coach Boone and the assistance of coach Yoast, they lead T.C Williams’s football team to a flawless victory.

When addressing history, it is perhaps important to analyze the perception of all individuals involved. The film emphasized a particular moment in history when addressing the Gettysburg War: the moment when black and white Americans fought in a war, together. History is suspended for a singular moment when Coach Boone takes his team on a run to the Gettysburg battlefield. “This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we are still fighting among ourselves today. This green field right here, painted red, bubblin ‘ with the blood of young boys.” (Yakin) Coach Boone addressed his team with a vigor of passion. He implemented the sense of righteousness in each player standing in the field with him. He brought forward courage with the statement that if they could not see pass the blood of a long past fight, they would not succeed. By addressing the tension between the players he diminished race. The comparison between the football team and the fighting grounds implied that the players must learn to play together and unify themselves for victory. The physical challenges were minuscule in comparison to the emotional senses of anger and prejudice each player had to address. As such, Coach Boone took it upon himself to inspire: “You listen, and you take a lesson from the dead. If we don ‘t come together right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were.” (Yakin) He wanted his team to look past the color of the skin. He pushed them to expand their minds past what society told them. He needed each player to grasp the idea that to fight amongst themselves would only result in defeat. That is why he finished his monologue with the insistence that they may not like one another, but they will respect one another.

V. Effect #2

The first game is opened with great trepidation, Coach Boone addresses his team with the knowledge that if they lose, he will lose his position as head coach because the school board was waiting for any reason to fire Coach Boone. “Tonight we ‘ve got Hayfield. Like all the other schools in this conference, they ‘re all white. They don ‘t have to worry about race. We do. Let me tell you something: you don ‘t let anyone come between us. Nothing tears us apart…” (Yakin)

VIII. One more point about racism and supporting source

The plethora of recognizable racism exist in the world, Julius Campbell reflects a systemic approach to legacy when he addresses his coach during the half time of their championship game:

“With all due respect, uh, you demanded more of us. You demanded perfection. Now, I ain ‘t saying that I ‘m perfect, ’cause I ‘m not. And I ain ‘t gonna never be. None of us are. But we have won every single game we have played till now. So this team is perfect. We stepped out on that field that way tonight. And, uh, if it ‘s all the same to you, Coach Boone, that ‘s how we want to leave it.” (Yakin)

Society demands a manifestation of exemplary individuals to represent each culture. Coach Boone, required that same institutional behavior from his team. Ideologically racism was justified with racial slurs that emphasized the displacement of people of color. Julius reflected his team past the common belief that black men were inferior. He recognized the quality not within himself, but what was an accomplished with his team. They had achieved a certain utopia, that allowed the team to be seen as a whole, rather than who made it. It is inarguable to state that the Titans of T.C. Williams High School were divided by something as simple as color of skin. At this point in the film, discrimination was no longer manifested in the minds of the players. The only categorize seen was those who won, and those who did not.

IX. Conclusion

Racism changes over time, but consistently stays in the same pattern. It can be proven to be a universal in the ideology that discrimination is perceived by separate beliefs, superiority and power. With prejudice demoralization in “Remember the Titans”, acknowledgment of who is responsible for the overwhelming power to change the situation came from those who could enrich the inheritance of equality. The racial tension in the film allows us to witness the legitimate issue of segregation and the process of integration.

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