Many different movies that we watch throughout our lives stir some type of emotional response. This could include sadness, grief, joy, or even respect for a certain fictional character. The movie Glory Road depicts a time when African American players where not welcome on the basketball court. In 1965 a few college teams included black players. However, they would only play them when “needed”, or when they were losing. Many of these teams during that time period felt threatened by the “invasion”, in their words, of the game.
I believe the main reason for this “invasion” theory or the dislike of the African American players was because they felt that even though they may have been better at the sport, they were inferior. This could have been because of their culture, or because of the majority acting as such. Throughout this movie there are multiple ethical and moral issues.
Some of these issues are personal, while others are a culture or group.
One of the main characters in the movie is Don Haskins; he was the coach for the Texas Miners, a middle aged and well educated man. I would also say that he was culturally diverse. He went into a college where all the players on the team were white. They needed more players, and he wanted a championship. He sent his recruiter to the Bronx, on the lookout for any players with talent no matter the skin color. This bold move caused a stir with the current players, teachers, leaders of the school, and students. The recruiting of black players alone showed the values and culture of the area where the Texas Miners presided. The area in question was predominately white, which led to problems with the community. The community did not approve of his “method” for success. They were used to the iconic “All American” white basketball team. This divide shows the cultural relativism of the people in that area. The overall population that went to the basketball games stirred the pot and probably dragged in other individuals to their taunting and degrading of the African American players. They showed that they had much different ethical standards, ones that Mr. Haskins, the new basketball coach did not share. I think that cultural relativism in this aspect goes back to their childhood and upbringing. Some people learn concepts such as “Love your neighbor” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” while some learn things such as “Your empowered” or “Always do what you think is right”. While both of these seem to be good upbringings, some people are brought up to think that another race is inferior to yours. Which I believe was the case here surrounding the Texas Miners basketball team.
This also brings into question the ethical relativism of the groups of people. While the players that Mr. Haskins brought into the team had just as much cultural diversity as Mr. Haskins himself, the crowd, school, and local populace did not share the same views or concepts. Ethical relativism played a huge role in the set for this movie, and time period. There will always be different groups of people with different perspective views of what is right or wrong. Ethically these people where acting in a wrong fashion. Culturally they acted how they were taught to act. While they saw their actions correct, ethically they were wrong. Later and throughout the movie Mr. Haskins learns to break the divide and brings the team together, both black and white players. He also does an amazing job rallying the school and crowd to his side. However, this did not sit the same with the opposing teams that they faced throughout the year. Every time the team traveled they had some type of opposition to face, whether it is the hotel would not let all of the players stay, or the diners not allowing African Americans inside. The nature of movie shows both violent and passive forms of cultural racism. I believe throughout this true story, Mr. Haskins was trying to display some type of Utilitarianism. He was acting to maximize the effort and utility of his team, while at the same time keeping the crowd and players happy. He also broke the chains that restricted African American players from playing on the Texas Miners team.
I think his actions displayed this because my interpretation of Utilitarianism is holding the proper course of action regardless of the consequences, to both maximize your utility, and happiness. On the flip side to Utilitarianism, I believe Mr. Haskins also displayed Egoism at times throughout the movie. He acted as if everything was for the good of the team, but at times I think he let his own ignorance get in the way of that. There were times he would purposely play only the African American players just to spite the other coaches, or to prove a point. During parts of the movie, I believe that he does have a personal motive and goal that is the deep underlying reason for his actions. It is displayed at moments of the movie, especially during his emotional outbursts. I would not go as far to say that he was completely selfish in his actions; however I do believe that the underlying goal was his own. He had something to prove, and he wanted the entire world to see it. He succeeded in his goal by leading the Texas Miners to a nearly undefeated season, spiting all of the nay-sayers that he encountered along his path to success. I believe this was his ultimate personal goal, to show everyone that he was successful, and that he could do it despite what the local culture thought. I think that the local populace rising against him caused him to try and work even harder. At the end of the movie the Texas Miners played the championship game against Kentucky. Kentucky was an all-white basketball team.
They did not believe that African American players belonged in the game, and the school did not allow them to play on their team. Mr. Haskins lead the Texas Miners to their ultimate victory during that game, the NCAA championship title. This was a cultural feat, said to be one of the most important games in basketball. The reason that I believe it was the most important game in basketball is because the team faced overwhelming passive and violent persecution from racist and culturist groups. Nearly everywhere they went the team was attacked, wheither it was verbally or physically. The team was said to have had a much harder time dealing with the persecution than some of the other films you may have seen. It was truly a feat for the team to pull together and succeed even despite all the racial discrimination. For a college basketball team they had extremely young and impressionable players, and I believe Mr. Haskins did a fantastic job teaching them how to not only play basketball, but be successful at life, no matter the challenges. Ultimately I think that this was the entire teaching of the movie.
Cultural differences divided our country. You could go from one place to the next and be treated completely different, this even applies today in some instances. The movie did a fantastic job of showing the cultural differences and how the team rose over them and eventually it brought out the good people who ended up supporting the team. This was a monumental boundary I believe. Once someone has the guts to stand up and do what is right, others will follow. Unfortunately I believe that was partially what happened when the team first came together. Some people who were not culturally diverse decide that they did not like the African American players, leading to the kind of “rallying” the crowd against them. This is a very exciting and interesting movie for both ethical and moral standard discussion. In the end I believe that Mr. Haskins had his own personal achievements that he was truly after, he displayed traits of a true leader, but an egoist. The team faced many cultural challenges along their way to success and ultimately the NCAA championship despite the persecution and threats along the way. The movie was a bold tale, one that was and will be a controversy over the way it displayed the racial violence and discrimination for years to come.
Cite this Glory Road: Ethics and Morals
Glory Road: Ethics and Morals. (2016, Oct 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/glory-road-ethics-and-morals/