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Remember the Titans vs. the Great Debaters

In: Film and Music

Submitted By higheat193
Words 520
Pages 3
Modern Urban World
Torrence

The differences Whites and Blacks, as well as their comparisons, are portrayed through two different movies of two different eras of American history. Remember the Titans centers around an integrated high school football team in Virginia in the 1970’s. The team has to figure out how to bond together as one in order to overcome racial adversity of the south in the 1970’s. The Great Debaters takes place in Texas during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Three black college students on a debate team, along with their coach Professor Tolson, travel the road debating more and more prestigious colleges, while developing as young educated black men (and women) in the racist 1930’s south. Character development is both films plays a vital role. In Remember the Titans, the relationship formed between Gary and Julius, and Boone and Yost symbolizes the White/Black differences coming together and actually forming stronger friendships then that of two of the same races. There were also the supporting roles of characters that helped integrate the football team such as Louie, Rev, and Blue who were the very first players who were able to set color aside as it has nothing to do with neither football nor the quality of a man. In The Great Debaters, the growth of Henry Lowe and the relationship between James Farmer Jr. and his father are crucial to watch. Henry Lowe starts off as a misguided young man who responds to conflicts with walking away and surrounds himself with alcohol and women. By the end of the film Lowe has matured, taken the reigns of his life, and becomes a leader for Henry Farmer Jr. and Samantha Booke. James Farmer Sr. is a strict minister who runs his household accordingly. There is a bit of distance between James Farmer Jr. and his father, but as the film progresses both prove themselves in the eyes of the other; James Sr. is able to talk the sheriff into releasing Prof. Tolson while James Jr. is able to impress his father, Harvard University, and countless listeners with his last speech. Both films depict racism and segregation; however, Remember the Titans depicts it in a more cultural perspective (de facto) while The Great Debaters depicts it in a universal fashion (de jure). In the beginning of Remember the Titans, there are visual signs of segregation all over the place—separate busing, different cafeteria tables at camp, blacks are not allowed to eat at certain restaurants, and the neighborhoods are segregated. Also, several prejudices are shown such as, Ray asking Pete “You do have a daddy don’t ya” the opposing coach calls Coach Boone a monkey, the “zoo” comment to Gary after school fight, and Emma refuses to shake Julius’ hand at first. In The Great Debaters, the earlier time period gives way to more blunt racism and prejudices. The lynching scene, the sharecropper beaten up, the incident when James Farmer Sr. hits the White farmer’s pig, and the fact that the school is all black all reflect not only the time period but the attitudes towards race as well.

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