“Remember the Titans (2000)” takes place in Alexandria, Virginia in the early 70s. The community is football crazed and is also racially segregated. High school football is everything to the people of Alexandria. Because of a law that is passed the local school board is forced to integrate a black high school with a white high school. The white high school’s current head coach (played by Will Patton) is a past state champion in football and is considered by many in the community to be a hall of famer.
When the two schools merge into one they become T.C. Williams High School. After the merger it is revealed that Herman Boone (played by Denzel Washington) will be the new high school football coach at T.C. Williams. At first Patton’s character is going to take over as head football coach at another high school. He reconsiders and decides to work with Boone at T.C. Williams because of the prior commitments that he made to his former players. The football players are forced to bus together, share rooms, work out together, and learn something personal about one another. Through the trials and tribulations of racial tensions, community backlash, and cultural change the players of this football team learn lessons that go beyond just playing football. The experiences of the football team also affect the community in a positive way as well.
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is defined “as the way that people understand the world based on their form of language (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 67)”. The white players in the movie have their own way that they talk and behave that is consistent with their culture and the way they were brought out. The same thing could be said for the African American players as they sometimes speak in Ebonics. This is language that is acquired through their culture that the white culture is not familiar with.
Culture shock is defined “as the experience of personal disorientation when confronted with an unfamiliar way of life (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 67)”. The main culture shock that is observed in this film is the desegregation of the Virginia community and the affects that is has on society. At first people are resistant to change; they don’t want to see white people becoming friendly with African Americans. They want everyone to still be separated. Over time people realize how wrong they were and come to accept other cultures and not judge them based on their skin color.
Cultural imperialism is defined as the “deliberate imposition of one’s own cultural values on another culture (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 67)”. At the beginning of this film white society in the Virginia community views themselves as better than the African American society. They believe if the African Americans want to be accepted into their culture then they need to act “white”. They need to take on mannerisms from the white culture and not act so “black”. Because that society is looked down upon as being low class or not as high of status as the white society is.
Religious beliefs are defined as “the specific ideas that members of a particular faith hold to be true (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 354)”. If the people in the movie that are depicted are of the Christian faith then they hold the same values to be true. Values like morality, faith, belief in a higher power, being a Good Samaritan, are discussed in the Holy Bible of Christianity. The bible is something that everyone that believes in Christianity is familiar with.
Religious experience is “the conviction or sensation that one is connected to ‘the divine’ (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 354)”. During the movie after they say their prayers and go out and play the state championship game they can sense their faith being rewarded. They probably prayed for success out on the football field and for health of their injured teammates. When their faith is affirmed and they end up winning the football game in a miraculous way they get a sense that God is answering their prayers.
Religious rituals are “behaviors or practices that are either required for or expected of the members of a particular group (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 354)”. When Gerry gets in a car crash and gets paralyzed several members of the community are praying for them. It is customary in most religions to pray for someone during a time of tragedy.
Prejudice is biased thought that is based on flawed assumptions about a group of people (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 249). After the team had one of their big wins they decided to stop and get some food. The place that they wanted to eat at was a white restaurant, but they thought they would be alright to go in anyways. When the African Americans from the team want to go into the restaurant the white people that are in the restaurant are not happy and force them to leave. “Sunshine” who is the white football player from California is very shocked by this. He has a hard time believing that prejudice like he just observed still exists in the community.
Amalgamation the process by which a minority group and a majority group combine to form a new group (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 249). When they are all sent away to football camp both whites and African Americans are forced to stay in the same dorm rooms. The coaches’ reason for doing this was to help destroy the hate and racism existed between the white and African American players. At first it was not a good idea because of the racism. Once they realized that they had similar personalities but there only differences was skin color they all became good friends. These two groups which are white and African American coming together as a team to become a family as one group is a good example of amalgamation.
Racism is a set of attitudes, beliefs, and practices that are used to justify the belief that one racial category is somehow superior or inferior to others (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 249). Throughout the football season Gerry and Julius become great friends. At the start racism kept them separated from ever having a chance of being friends. Once they got past that they realized that they were like brothers to one another. They had a lot in common and were both great football players the only differences they found between them was their skin color. If racism did not exist then these two may have been friends before they were forced to be around one another.
Queer theory is an interdisciplinary approach to sexuality studies that identifies Western society’s rigid splitting of gender into male and female roles and questions its appropriateness (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 272). A white player moves from California to Virginia to play on the football team and is judged from the moment everyone sees him. They made fun of him because they thought he was gay and even nicknamed him “sunshine”. He was in fact not gay but people were ignorant and did not believe a straight man would have long hair. They do figure out later on in the film that he is in fact not gay but they still passed false judgement on him based upon their first impressions. The way this character acts is questioned as being appropriate and as a result he falls under the Queer theory even though he is not actually homosexual.
Homophobia is an extreme or irrational aversion to homosexuals (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 272). Gerry is the best white player on the football team and he is also dating a very popular girl that is quite racist. When Gerry becomes friends with a black player on his team she does not like it. He starts to hang out with him more than his girlfriend and she takes offense to that. She breaks up with him because she was extremely racist and didn’t want her boyfriend to be friends with a black man. She even asserts that Gerry might be homosexual because he spends way too much time with his friend. Gerry’s girlfriend has a very narrow view. Gerry’s girlfriend has racial issues but may also be homophobic as well.
Gender role is society’s concept of how men and women should behave (Introduction to Sociology 2e pg. 272). Denzel Washington’s character and Will Patton’s character both have a daughter. Patton’s character’s daughter was a very big tomboy and Washington’s character’s daughter is very girly and dainty. Both of them put aside the color of their skin and their differences to become good friends. The daughter that is a tomboy is going against her gender role because she loves football and wants to be “one of the boys.” The other daughter that acts girly and dainty is acting like her gender role because it is what society says a girl should act like.
Introduction to Sociology 2e. Openstax College. (2015). Textbook.
Bruckheimer, Jerry (Producer) and Yakin, Boaz (Director). (2000). Remember the Titans [Motion Picture]. United States: Disney.
“Cultural Studies in Remember the Titans (2012)”. Casey C. Carroll. Retrieved from http://caseyccarroll.tumblr.com/post/21612754841/cultural-studies-in-remember-the-titans
“Remember the Titans (2000)”. Fuchs, Cynthia. Retrieved from