Analysis of "American History X" Film Review by Nicky

Analysis of "American History X"
Analytical review of the 1998 film "American History X," directed by Tony Kaye, and its value for multicultural counselors.
# 128173 | 2,565 words | 5 sources | APA | 2010 | US

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This paper provides a review of the 1998 film "American History X," directed by Tony Kaye. The paper offers an in-depth examination of this film in light of the theories of multicultural counseling, noting that although none of the characters received formal therapy throughout the film, both Derek and Danny Vinyard, the film's two central characters, formed mentor-like relationships with each other and with a member of the other race. The paper concludes that this valuable film shows the plights of several different ethnic groups, suggests how racism is formed, and also shows how it can be overcome; in addition, it allows the clinical worker to see the spectrum of racial ideas that might be presented by a client, and can help counselors identify how differences in worldview affect communication.


Summary and Analysis of the Film as a Whole
Character Analysis
Personal Impact

From the Paper:

"Because of the tremendous amounts of racism, discrimination, and privilege that can be viewed in this film, it is easy to see how the issues espoused on camera can affect the world of multicultural counseling. For instance, the film as a whole allows the viewer to see the interplay between different ethnic and racial groups, and the barriers that divide them. This allows counselors to understand that certain barriers may exist between them and their patients. Sue and Sue (2008) state that, "while you were not born wanting to be racist of sexist, your cultural conditioning has imbued certain biases and prejudices in you. Furthermore, the film as a whole allows counselors to see the different challenges that they may be faced with in the field. Although the climate in this part of California may be more racially charged than in some areas, it may look strikingly like other cities. Regardless, the abundance of different racial and ethnic groups living together in this film allows counselors to see how each has a shared set of concerns, as well as an individual identity. This can serve as a warning to counselors who may be prone to using racial and culturally developed models. Counselors should use this film to understand that, while these models may be the best way to approach the situation, they need to refrain from responding "to the culturally diverse client in a very stereotypic manner and [failing] to recognize within-group or individual differences (Sue and Sue 2008, p.235). Thus, as a whole, this movie provides a cosmopolitan view of society in which many races are represented. It accurately portrays the interlocking ideas of prejudice, privilege, and discrimination. In addition, its portrait of this type of society offers many useful hints to counselors of the multiculturally diverse."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Collins, Noah M. and Pieterse, Alex L. (2007). Critical Incident Analysis Based Training: An Approach for Developing Active Racial/Cultural Awareness. Journal of Counseling and Development. 85, 14-23.
  • Ibrahim, Farah A. (1991). Contribution of Cultural Worldview to Generic Counseling and Development. Journal of Counseling and Development 70, 13-19.
  • Kaye, Tony (Director). (1998). American History X. [videotape].
  • McIntosh, Peggy. (1990). White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. White Privilege 49(2), npag.
  • Sue, Derald Wing and Sue, David. (2008). Counseling the Culturally Diverse Theory and Practice Fifth Edition. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons.

Cite this Film Review:

APA Format

Analysis of "American History X" (2010, July 02) Retrieved September 30, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Analysis of "American History X"" 02 July 2010. Web. 30 September. 2023. <>