Prejudice, comformity and stereotyping in American History X

Essay by jade8619College, UndergraduateF, February 2003

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Introduction To The Topic

American History X is a great film that portrays prejudice, stereotyping and conformity. Prejudice is negative attitudes toward others based on their gender, religion, race, or membership in a particular group. Prejudice involves beliefs and emotions that can turn into hatred. Having an opinion or idea about a member of a group without really knowing that individual is a part of prejudice. Some people make judgments about a whole group of people without knowing very much about them. Sometimes people are afraid of those who seem different from them and unfortunately, they express that with name-calling and negative treatment. When people grow up with these ideas, sometimes it's hard to get rid of them. Like in the movie American History X, a father is sitting at the family dinner table and states his opinion of why he feels certain people of minority groups got their job.

This influences how his children feel. Prejudice is a premature judgment, a positive or negative attitude towards a person or group of people, which is not based on objective facts. The prejudgments are usually based on stereotypes, which are shared beliefs about the characteristic traits, attitudes, and behaviors of members of various social groups including the assumption that the members of such groups are usually all alike. As the story line unfolds in American History X, the main character of the story will realize that not all people of a particular race are the same. A prejudgment may be based on an emotional experience we have had with a similar person, sort of our own personal stereotype. Stereotypes also provide us with role expectations. How we expect the other person or group to relate to us and to other people. Our culture has many of ready made stereotypes such as...