Forced Integration

In the movie Remember The Titans, released on September 23, 2000, we see a segregated town called Alexandria forced to integrate, starting with combining the black school and the white school. With this integration means integrating with sports as well, specifically football. Coach Boone, African-American, is given the head coaching job in order to show that their school is being racial fair. Throughout the movie, we see clear examples of racism and what integration does to a traditional high school football team.

In the beginning of the movie, there is a scene when the athletic director at the high school goes to the current football coach, Bill Yoast, house to tell him that his job has been given to a black man named Herman Boone. The way the athletic director delivers this news is extremely racist. He says, “ The school board has decided that that negro Herman Boone is going to be the new head coach at TC Williams High School.” His words sound very degrading towards this new coach who has the same qualifications as the old white coach. The school board member is assuming that because of this man’s color, he is not as smart or qualified as a white man. The stereotype enforced here is that black people are not as educated and qualified as white men. The director makes it seem like Herman Boone is less of a person, and coach, because of his skin color. On the other hand, Coach Boone says to a black school board member, “ I moved here because I was highly qualified for a coaching job in North Carolina but my job was given to a white man with no football knowledge. I earned the right to that job and it was taken from me because of my skin color and you are asking me to do the same thing to this man here.” Coach Boone has experienced his job being taken away first hand and he wonders how someone could ask him to do the same thing. He knows that the only reason he was given this job is because there are no other black coaches in the league and in order to integrate, TC Williams High School had to give a black man the job. He feels that it is unfair to take another man’s job because of a race issue which shows us the other side to racism. Coach Boone has been stripped of jobs, that he is qualified for, because of his skin color and now he is being asked to take Coach Yoast’s job because he is white. The tables have turned and Coach Boone is not alright with any of the recent occurrences.

In the middle of the movie, Coach Boone takes the whole team to a football camp to prepare them for their season. While there, he forces integration by having each white player share a dorm room with a black player. He also says that they will have 4 practices a day until each member of the team learns something about another player of the opposite race. Ray Budds, white running back, is paired with Petey Jones and he is forced to ask Petey about his family. He asks Petey, “What is your daddy’s name? You do have a daddy right?” Petey responds with, “ Yes I have a father and his name is Erik.” Ray then asks, “ What does your father do? Wait he has a job right?” This enforces a stereotype that whites thought that Black father’s abandoned their children or that the child did not know who their father was. The other stereotype present is that black men were not able to get jobs because of their skin color. Both of these stereotypes are untrue, but they are often believed. These questions make Petey feel terrible about himself and ashamed that Ray asked that question. You can clearly see the racism Ray expresses in just a little 2 minute conversation.

To continue, Julius, the black captain, and Gerry, the white captain, are talking and Julius says to Gerry, “ You’re supposed to be a leader. If you are doing your job, then why don’t you tell your white guys to block for Rev better? Because they have no blocked for Rev and you know it.” The white players will not block for the black players because they have no respect for them. They do not view each other as equals, even though in fact they are equals. Rev keeps getting beat up and injured because his “teammates” won’t do their job and block for him because of the color of his skin. They believe they are better than him, therefore they allow him to get hurt. Later in the movie, Gerry confronts some teammates who are purposely not blocking for Rev and things start to change. This is showing how Gerry is starting to slowly recognize that racism is not right and that Rev is his teammate and should be treated with respect. This is also a turning point for the whole team because they start respecting each other and playing as one instead of individual black and white players.

Another example is when some members of the team go out to a diner and the diner owner says there are no tables available when there is clearly no one there. The owner says, “I have the right to deny service to anybody. Now if you want something to eat you boys can go around back and pick it up in the back.” Clear racism is shown by the diner owner and it is sad to think that a person can be denied service because of their skin color. Skin color does. not make them any less of a human being.

To Conclude, the hardships these students and athletes had to go through to integrate based on their skin color is awful. No one should have had to go through what the black people had to go through. Racism is an important issue to discuss because it is a real issue. People face racisms on a daily basis in sports, the media, and a school. This movie clearly demonstrates the hard times black people had to overcome in order to be viewed as an equal human being in society. The movie was full of racism and although it was in a movie, the racism depicted in the movie was real life situations people had to go through which is so sad.