Indeed, in the quest for social progress, the struggle for equality has gone a long way, with black Americans now holding high-ranking positions in specialized fields in government and society. The issue on racism started when slave ships arrived in America from the coasts of Africa in the 17th century . Since then it has haunted and continues to haunt the history of the American nation. Racism was generally an issue in Americas history, which included sports as well. Race limited the sporting opportunities of many Americans (mainly African American).
During the 1920s, few blacks played in the National Football League before being unofficially banned in the 1930’s. That eventually changed and today it is a sport dominated by mostly African Americans. In the mid 1880’s, whites rejected racially integrated baseball. This changed in 1947, when Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play Major League baseball outside of a segregated black league. He became a living milestone for racial equality and changed the sport of baseball forever. Many stories like these became inspirations to future movies. Many movies, as in numerous things or behaviors in life, show social psychology.
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In movies (whether they are illustrating racism, pro-social behavior, unselfishness, or even aggression) there are fundamental themes or life lessons to be learned. Throughout the history of sport, you can see that it has collided with several cultural values: gender, class, ethnicity/racism, religion, or region. In the film “Remember the Titans”, we see a cultural environment in 1971 refusing to accept the idea of racial equality (the main issue raised in the movie).
The film displays the issue of racism and illustrates how one can overcome prejudice by uniting for a ommon cause or goal. During the course of this movie, there were many social behaviors at work that dealt with racism and discrimination. These obstacles didn’t stop the football team from socially overcoming those difficulties. In brief, this film is about two schools in Alexandria Virginia that integrated in the early 1970s to form T. C. Williams High School. The white head coach of the Titans (Coach Bill Yoast) is replaced by an African American coach from North Carolina (Coach Herman Boone). Tensions arise when players of different races are forced together on the same football team.
Many of these tensions are eased during the two-week training camp in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. When players returned to Alexandria the players found the city in turmoil due to the forced desegregation of the high school. As the season progresses the team's success caused the community to accept the changes. After the Titans' perfect season, the team and the city were closer than ever. There were many scenes in the film that were meaningful to the theme of racism. One important scene is at the Gettysburg battle location. Here, Coach Boone makes an impacting speech to the players on overcoming their racism.
During Boones speech there is a shot of Boone and the cemetery behind him. This gets the viewer to focus on the words he is saying as well as the cemetery behind him. While looking at the players, Coach Boone says "Fifty thousand men died right here on this field... fighting the same fight that we’re still fighting among ourselves". When they got back to the camp, during a training session, the two captains shout the chant, "left side" "strong side" to each other. This shows a new understanding and respect towards each other. They impact the rest of the team, which then come together as well.
Gettysburg is the turning point in the film, where the players overcome their racism. Another important and meaningful scene is one of the locker room scenes. The scene starts off with everyone laughing with one another while making “Mama Jokes”. Then, the radio is turned on and the song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye comes on. The title of the song alone gives great symbolism, showing that racism can be conquered. Slowly but surely, the tension between the players (and eventually the community) diminished. The scene where a few of the players call a team meeting in the gym is another relevant scene.
The players get a sense that they’re good because they won a few games. They came together in camp, but they returned back to school and the “world” told them that they didn’t belong together. In that gymnasium they come together in singing, clapping, and a huddle to conclude the scene. The story of "Remember the Titans" is not about football. It is about the times of inequality, racism and narrow-mindedness. Students refused to go to class with those of a different race and adults did not want to associate with others that did not look like them.
This movie is about the struggle for civil rights, but what makes this movie great is the struggle the football team faced to become one to work together to attain a common goal. Sports made this a powerful movie. Watching the players come together proved it is okay to be friends with, associate with and even care for people that don't necessarily look like you. If the T. C Williams Titans had a lesser role in the movie the concept of coming together (no matter what your background is, even when everyone else is divided) would not have been as strong.
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