Remember the Titans is a prestigious film that provides and explains multiple sociological issues. Throughout the film, concepts are addressed and resolved. The three sociologist concepts that will be applied to the film Remember the Titans are culture/cultural relativism, prejudice, and deviance. The first sociologist concept I will discuss is culture. Culture is mutually shared products, knowledge, and beliefs of a human group or society. Culture is the key for social relations and serves as a social control (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018). Some elements of culture, especially the beliefs and expectations people have about one another and the world they inhabit, are a component of all social relations. (Giddens, Duneier, Appelbaum, and Carr 2014). An example of culture is that can be shown at work through a variety of ways. This can be the way people dress, how their work space is designed, and how the person projects themselves through his/her customers. Cultural Relativism can be defined as the opening and accepting of different cultures and people; each culture is unique and valid (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018). An example of cultural relativism is accepting different culture styles and clothing and realizing culture is unique and not all cultures will dress similar to yours.
Prejudice can be defined as attitudes that prejudge a group, usually negatively and not based on facts. (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018). A prejudice is not based on experience; instead, it is a prejudgment, originating outside of actual experience. An example of prejudice is racism. Racism is any attitude, belief, or institutional arrangement that favors one racial group over another (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018). Prejudice views can cause stereotypes. Stereotypes are distorted, oversimplified, or exaggerated ideas passed down over generations through cultures (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018). Stereotypes can be used to justify prejudice, discrimination, and unequal distribution of resource (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018). Prejudice and discrimination can overlap and intersect in many ways. There are four examples of how prejudice and discrimination can occur. The four examples are unprejudiced non-discriminators, unprejudiced- discriminators, prejudiced non-discriminators and prejudiced discriminators. Unprejudiced non-discriminators are open-minded and accepting individuals. Unprejudiced discriminators might be those who, unthinkingly, practice sexism in their workplace by not considering females for certain positions that have traditionally been held by men. Prejudiced non-discriminators are those who hold racist beliefs but don’t act on them, for example a store owner who is racist but still serves minority customers. Prejudiced discriminators include those who actively make disparaging remarks about others.
Deviance is the behavior that violates a widely held norm, most goes ignored or is mildly punished (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018). Most people conform to most norms most of the time, for example driving over the speed limit. An example of a deviant behavior is nudity and bizarre clothing, but it is not considered a crime. Not all deviant acts are crimes, and not all crimes are deviant. No Act is inherently deviant behavior can be determined by norms of society, the situation, and the status of the actor (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018). Deviant behavior can be considered deviant at one point in time while further in the future it is no longer consider deviant. For example, living together before marriage (Dykstra- Crookshanks 2018).
Remember the Titans is based on the true story of T.C. Williams High School, a Virginian school that is undergoing racial integration after years of experiencing segregation within their community. The film focuses on the football team primarily, and it shows the effects the forced integration had on the coaches of the team, as well as the individual players, and the families of those players. After some initial racially motivated conflicts and with the help of team building by the new head African American Coach, the racial divisions begin to break down. As the season unfolds, the Titan’s football team overcomes the racial divisiveness that surrounds them to achieve success on and off the playing field. As football team finally starts working together as an actual dream team and taking the time to consider both their individual and team strengths and weaknesses, they finish the season undefeated and go on to win the state championship game.
There are many components of culture exemplified throughout Remember the Titans, the culture in this film takes place in a high school in Virginia that has just been desegregated and is witnessing an immense amount of push back from the community according to races. At the time the movie took place in 1971 African Americans were considered less than whites and often treated as such. Culture plays a huge role with the Titan football team throughout the whole film. Due to the desegregation of the high school, the football team was also desegregated and an African American head coach, Herman Boone was put in charge. The football team did not only have to overcome the prejudice views in their own ranks, but also from the community as well. This shows how two different culture collapse within each other during this time of desegregation and eventually come together as one with conflict in between the success. However, slowly and surely their team, their community and their values began to change through the symbols that were brought to attention. An example of this is when the football team jogged early in the morning a to a civil war grave site. At the grave cite Coach Boone said an inspiring speech, perspectives were changed throughout the team. The teammates closed minds were changed and opened to new ideas and possibilities. With cultures, norms, and values evolving, language began to change as well. Instead of viewing the African Americans teammates off their race and culture, the other teammates began to look pass the color of their skin and calling each other’s friends and teammates finally. This also shows a form of cultural relativism on how to different races are looking pass the color of their skins and their beliefs by finally accepting one another as teammates.
Prejudice is shown through several part of the film. Prejudice is shown towards the beginning of the film when Herman Boone becomes the first African American football coach at the high school. The way the team reacted when they found out that the former head coach had been replaced with an African American man is a form of prejudice because it is a prejudgment. The team first refused to play for an African American coach. They believed there was no way he could be a half decent coach, which is a negative view not based on facts. The former teammates based their attitudes not by experience but by prejudgment of their attitudes against having an African American man as a coach. Another form of prejudice that happens later in the is film when of the after a football game the team goes to a bar to celebrate of the football teams they went to celebrate. The owner of the bar wouldn’t allow them to eat there because one of the teammates looked like a hippie and the others were African Americans. This is an example of when prejudice and discrimination overlap. The bar owner is an example of a prejudiced discriminator because he did not believe in equal treatment for racial and ethnic group. He showed this by not allowing the teammates to eat in his bar.
A form of deviance that is shown in the film is when a white football player named Louie Lastik sat at the black’s teammates table during lunch on the first few days of football camp. He was immediately labeled as deviant by both the whites and the blacks on the football team. During this time this was a deviant behavior this was a raciest and segregated time in America. This is an example of a deviant behavior that may not be considered as deviant in today’s time. Another teammate asked Louie why he was sitting with them and why he wasn’t at the table with his same race. CITE Louie replied, “It was because he didn’t fit in anywhere and that he didn’t care about color.”CITE His response seemed to ease tension felt by the black table. Louie is considered deviant because at this point in time this was not a shared deviant behavior, whites sat at one table and blacks sat at the other. The film took place in 1970 just a few years before the civil rights movement was over, which shows sitting at a table with a different race was not a commonly shared deviance behavior between others.
Throughout Remember the Titans, the film shows several forms of sociological concepts which lead to a bigger meaning. The film portrays how people can overcome every difference when faced with life-threating situations, and how team brings us all together and fades away our differences