Racial Discrimination and Inequality in Glory Road


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The movie “Glory Road” is a movie that fought against racial discrimination vividly and brought about some immense social changes in our society. The story revolves around a basketball coach “Don Haskins” who decides to build a basketball team based on talent and not race. He incorporates 7 black men into a 5 white men basketball team which leads them to a complete team. The society around them discriminates them at the new “racially diverse lineup” even though the team has been winning every single match they play. Later on, due to this extreme discrimination they lose their passion to ply and start losing matches. When his team qualifies into the NCAA championship, the lineup he follows was of just 5 black players and no white players. This gives rise to a lot of racial discrimination. But in the finals, he proves it by winning the championship against the worlds best team of Kentucky coached by Adolph Rupp. The social change he brings about after that match is very huge. Adolph Rupp-the coach of team Kentucky who never even had a flash of thought about recruiting a black man in his team does so. From this we get to know how much of a impact can a movie create in our society and what changes can be brought about. The 2007 movie “Glory Road” represents a clear analysis of racial discrimination as well as inequality through the conflict perspective.

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Racial Discrimination

Discrimination can take many shapes and forms. The basic notion is that society without discrimination does not exist. It is just about how our society has been build up from the very beginning. In this movie, the main concept is about social and racial discrimination as well as inequality. It mainly revolves around how our society discriminates on the basis of race. Racism has been a part of our society since the very beginning. It is embedded in our society since decades , hence people think that no matter what changes, this will exist. It is the people in this society that has this concept screwed into their minds about how conflict, discrimination and anything of that sort will be not be abolished due to the practices they have been seeing since ancient times. Racism is a world wide problem and does exist in every nation in one way or the other. Racism divided the society into “haves” and “have-nots” or “us” and “them”. These categories are created only based on what our base and skin colour is. The reason why this agitates a lot of people is due to the lack of the implementation of its basic law. What people often forget is that all these can be changed by the concepts of ” SOCIOLOGY”.

Conflict Perspective

The concept in which the movie is based on is ” Conflict Perspective”. Conflict theory interprets society as a not so peaceful unit but as a division between groups engaging in conflict due to limited resources. Conflict theory sees every aspect of the society as competition and emphasis on the distribution of resources, power and inequality. The main example of how this movie revolves around conflict perspective is that , even though the coach lacked resources, even though his team mates faced a lot of discrimination, the coach still lead the team mates to victory. Given that, he had very few resources , he went for what was available and that is ” raw talent”. It is with this sociology concept that lead to the victory of the team. Sociology of conflict theory says that ” the major function of modern conflict theory is to defend capitalism equally in its incipient forward-looking phase as in its later parasitic decadence.” In this movie, the team members were treated unequally. They were subjected to violence, verbal abuse, death threats and more. The coach in turn fought against this discrimination in the society and brought about a vast change among a lot of groups. The main reason behind conflict perspective is the lack of resources. It sees social and economical inequality as a reason for the struggle between groups and classes. This theory has been also used to explain a lot of social phenomena like wars, wealth and poverty , discrimination and domestic violence.

German philosopher and sociologist Karl Marx is known as the father of “Conflict Perspective”. It was he who proposed this idea in the very beginning. This theory of his views the society as ” a competition for limited resources”. He saw the society as being made up of individuals from different base and in turn competes for “social”, “political” and ” material” resources. He considered this idea to be based upon the concept of “base and superstructure”. For him, it is the base that acts as a strong foundation for the society and that will in turn decide what the society will be like. Marx explains that from the very beginning there were conflict existing between the “bourgeoisie” and the “proletariat”. This conflict was a because of one group dominating the other. Racism shown in this movie is also about how a white coach is being thrashed when he wanted to give some “free room” for the blacks in the court. This clearly shows how one group dominates over the other. Marxist conflict theory will indeed bring about a massive social change in our society. In the reading taught in our class, “Tilly-Hoarding of opportunities”, it talks about how people have viewed this as a means of exploitation and inequality. This also comes under the concept of conflict perspective as it also talks about the control of resources too. It mainly talks about the growing range of social inequality within the society.


In conclusion, society is divided into 2 halves “us” and “them”. In this Caucasians being the “us” and the African-Americans being “them” faces a lot of discrimination and inequality and that leads into conflict in society. Conflict theory says in the beginning on how a normal society works and how it can be changed by understanding and identifying the source of conflict and power. The unequal distribution of resources creates and class structure which in turn influences the functioning of society. If we identify an understand the society by looking into sociological theories every person can play a key role in the changing of this society. If the society is build upon conflict an inequality we can see that in the end as in this movie the “have” will always dominate over the “have -nots”. The ideal society would be in which there is no discrimination based on “us” and ” them”, rather it should be a “we”. But the conflict theory argues that the society is filled with conflict and that the society does not work with complete equality. Inequalities are bound to exist in a society with people from different base, different ideas and views live in. In short, conflict theory mainly speaks about the struggles, ideologies, representation that the dominant party posses over the suppressed ones. These concepts are the main reason for the conflict between the groups which in turn leads and ends in social change.

Works cited

  1. Social Scientist, Vol.3, No.12(Jul 1975),pp.29-42
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