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Both in American History X and in our current situation there are many related issues that tie into racism and stereotyping. The people in these situations enact hate crimes when they have been directly effected by other acts of violence. Thus, falsely assuming that an entire group is responsible for an individuals actions, leads to stereotyping. These assumptions result in negativity and hate crimes that are nothing but harmful and destructive.
The act of seeking out revenge by harming an entire classification of people due to stereotyping is ignorance in its purest form and causes the vicious cycle of hatred to continue. Edward Norton portrays Derek, a neo-Nazi reacting to influences and situations in his life that parallel those of the tragedies and hate crimes since September 11 th. Derek's first act of violence in the film was self defense, which mirrored the United States in their efforts of bombing Afghanistan. Derek was trying to defend his family and his property, against an invasion on while the United States protected national security by retaliating against terrorism on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Derek's aggression ran much deeper than just basic protection because it was rooted with racism. Due to the fact that his father was murdered by an African American, Derek began to view people with the same ethnicity as equal, if not lower to, the man that killed his father. America now has a similar outlook on Muslims and Arabs solely because of the few individuals that contributed to the acts of terrorism on Sept. 11 th. Hate crimes against people of Arab decent have massively increased and the justification for these actions are simply out of revenge. The direct relation of why Derek began discriminating against blacks and why the United States is presently stereotyping Arabs and Muslims is a reaction to lusting for payback and revenge.
The rage that stems from senseless acts of violence in both cases is a result of the victim franticly trying to make the culprit pay. Derek subconsciously decided that he needed to make up for his feelings of loss and helplessness by going after anyone who, in his mind, was associated with his fathers murderer. He took full advantage of the opportunity at hand when black gang members tried to invade his home. Instead of acting rationally, Derek reacted with instinct and brutally murdered any perpetrators in sight. American citizens had a very similar initial reaction to the day of September 11 th. Without thinking the occurrence through, citizens began angrily accusing innocent bystanders of being related to the incident.
Bricks were being thrown through Muslim organizational building and racial slurs were being spat left and right. Before the U. S. had any substantial facts or evidence that Afghanistan was responsible, the nation began holding all Muslims or Arabs accountable. Both Derek and American citizens were quick to try and compensate their losses by resorting to violence. Since there was not a specific culprit made clear in either situation, both Derek and American citizens decided to target innocent victims.
Stereotyping a body of people strictly because of what they appear to stand for or who they associate with does nothing but make a terrible situation even worse. Derek firmly believed that all blacks were equal in there lifestyles and moral standings. He was not willing to put aside pain and open his eyes to the idea of individualism. Derek directly hated the black society as a whole and he was not willing to understand that one man and one action killed his father. Subconsciously, Derek's pride would not let him accept the defeat of his fathers death, so all he could physically do was retaliate against an entire race by trying to tear apart a whole community little by little. The United States also decided not to accept defeat by bombing the Taliban and attempted to fight back against terrorism.
Many citizens within the U. S. , however, decided to choose ignorance and stereotype Arabs and Muslims without being educated on the circumstances. One hundred and seventy seven new hate crimes have been committed in the United States since September 11 th because Americans are not learning how to separate an outward image and a moral standing. Many Arab and Muslim Americans feel extremely blessed to be living in the United States and have no ties to the Taliban, but yet Americans continue to act out violently towards them. The American citizens need a scapegoat so they are discriminating a whole race and religion. If Americans would educate themselves on this topic they would find that most Muslims believe in peace and kindness to all.
Instead, U. S. citizens insist on seeking out revenge against anyone who appears to be a part of terrorism. Seeking this ignorant reactions through stereotyping only serves to perpetuate the cycle of violence.
As seen in American History X and in todays rising social issue of discrimination, the act of stereotyping results in nothing but a negative impact on society as a whole and the innocent individuals are the ones who suffer most. Instead of facing the matter at hand Derek and America decided to filter their inner scars and misplace the blame on the closest look-a-like they could find. Even though Derek seemed intelligent, as do most Americans, ignorance is the basic foundation of hate proven in both cases. Assumption of a whole cultures belief system because of how a few people impacted life as it was know is no excuse to accuse the group in its entirety and resort to stereotyping. Until the victims can rise above their stereotypical viewpoints as Derek eventually did, the cycle of violence will not be broken and hate crimes will not come to an end.
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Research essay sample on Stereotypes And Racism In American History X Today