Too Little Too Late Essay Research Paper

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Too Little Too Late Essay, Research Paper Too Little, Too Late The story of American History X follows an intelligent young man named Derek Vinyard and his decline into the world of disillusion and hate known as White Supremacy. Once a thoughtful and easy-going teen, he soon begins his change when his father is shot and killed by a black man, while trying to put out a fire at an alleged crackhouse. Derek becomes a smart, articulate, and an utterly committed monster who assumes a leadership role in the white supremacist movement of suburban Los Angeles. Alienated young men, including Derek s younger brother Danny, respond to his hate and are eager to act out against anyone who isn t white and Protestant, or the people who they think are plaguing society by their mere

existence. While the local movement grows, Derek s soul withers further and further away, polluted more and more by hate. This moral deterioration culminates when Derek kills two out of the three black gang members trying to steal the truck that use to be his father s. This act of rage and hate lands Derek in jail where he would soon come to a realization that would surely undo what his environment had taught him. In jail, Derek is quick to try an develop friendships with those involved in similar beliefs as him, alertly knowing it was the right way to go if he planned on remaining alive. This was the only reason needed to lead Derek right towards the white supremacists who provided him with protection that came as a result of their prison gang. Fresh from the streets, Derek was

set in his beliefs, beliefs that stemmed from his learning of bigotry at the kitchen table to the words of a radical hatemonger (Cameron) who flourished by subjecting alienated youth to the easy answers provided from neo-Nazism. However, Derek was becoming disgruntled at his fellow skinheads for their associations outside the group and was building relationships with two black man essential to his well-being. During this time, Derek begins to understand that the propaganda he was being fed in and out of prison was worthless and that the beliefs he once stood by, were not honorable, but just simply ways of people to manipulate the minds of those most vulnerable to it. As Derek approaches the realization that he needs to change, he is led towards this decision with the help of two

friends and the love and concern he has for his family, especially his brother Danny. His first step towards recognizing he has to change are provided by his old teacher Dr. Sweeny. Now his younger brother s principal, Dr. Sweeny points out to Derek that he is way to smart to be wasting his life in jail, and that he should see the holes in his whole system of belief. Furthermore, Dr. Sweeney tells Derek of the insurmountable influence he has on the life of his little brother and the fact that his own hatred leaked through to the mind of his young, impressionable brother. Derek realizes the racist gang life and the act of following Cameron all influenced his brother, who simply worshipped him as both a friend and father-figure. While he is in jail, his negative influence starts

Danny down the same path of self-destruction that has taken away three years of his life. Now through the advice of Dr. Sweeny, aside from trying to leave the world he helped create, he is also trying to save his brother from making the same mistakes he made. Another essential part of Derek s reformation in jail was the friendship he formed with his black work partner. After years of folding sheets and small talk, there was no barrier anymore and Derek saw past the color of his partner, recognizing the character of the person instead. He was helped by this same friend to step out of the environment that had shaped his views and to use his own intelligence to judge someone. Part of his realization is when he judges his work partner as a friend, a friend with whom he owes his life.