There are several sociological processes that are exhibited in the movie, Remember the Titans. These processes have the aim of exposing the poor relationship that exists between the thought of the humans and the social context provided. The extent and the limits of the social influence which is displayed on the people’s lives in the movie and the social-cultural basics are also displayed. In achieving to put across all this information, several theories have been employed in an intertwining manner. Among the theories that have been employed are the conflict theory and the critical theory (Bankston, 2000). Several character examples have been employed too, the effect of which is the creation of the sense of belongingness and social identification. Hostilities and aggressiveness also come out clearly in the movie. However, despite all these difficulties and differences, one of the positives that can be taken from the art is that sport can play a major role in bringing a different perspective of meaning to life. This is because, as I will explain later in the essay, the football sport managed to play a very crucial part in integrating the players and the community in general. This is in spite of the racial differences that had already threatened the peaceful co-existence between the blacks and the whites who lived in the small town in Virginia.
The conflict theory is a perception that is employed in sociology to emphasize the political, social or material inequalities that are present in a given social group. This theory mainly critiques the socio-political system and detracts from the functionalism of the structures (Bankston, 2000). It is among the major analysis levels in the society. Many conflict theories always set out to highlight the inherent ideological aspects in the traditional thought. It is important to note that the conflict theory does not in any manner refer to any amalgamated school of thought.
The movie also provides an analysis of the inequalities and the different ways through which different people are treated. For several generations and decades, schools in the suburban Virginia had been segregated. This is in sight of the monument in the Washington over the river which is located in the capital of the nation (Washington, 2011). There are schools for the blacks and schools for the whites. It can be rightfully argued that this can only heighten the differences and how the two groups relate to each other. In order to curb this, these schools are closed. The students of both schools are then sent to T.C. Williams High School. This is done under the federal mandate with the core aim being for them to integrate. However, integration is itself is not easily achieved. Analyzing the movie from the perspective of the football team, the wrangles that were meant to be curbed are still evident. There is a rift between black players and the white ones. When the black coach is selected to take care of the team over a highly successful white one, the harmony in the team is threatened. When Yoast first refused Boone’s offer to be his assistant, the white players go as far as pledging to boycott from participating in the activities of the team. Through these events, the conflict theory is exclusively employed with the effect of bringing out the inequalities and exposing how people from the different races treated others scornfully. However, through the football team, these differences are sorted out and all people treat each other as brothers, hence achieving the purpose for which the two schools were closed down early.
The movie also uses critical theory in explaining sociological processes. This theory is always oriented towards changing the society as a whole. The theory always aims to dig deep into the social life and bring out the stereotypes and the assumptions that separate people (Jones and Munro, 2005). The events in the Remember the Titans movie are aimed to expose the traditional and historical reasons that gave rise to the differences in race and why people despised those that did not belong to their races. The aim of the movie, it can be argued, is to bring to an end these differences. This is at last achieved. In order to achieve this, many bold steps had to b taken, including that of closing the two schools and sending all the students to T. C. Williams High School. Through this, the students were expected to be closer to each other as it would mean they had to share the same facilities. This is also exhibited in the football team, where all the players, black or white, had to accept being coached by a black coach. Despite the various clashes that happen in the team in the early stages, racial harmony is achieved. Through this new found harmony in the team, the team performs extra ordinary well by not losing a single game. This acts as a catalyst in uniting the community. The society gets changed and develops a new culture in which everybody is treated with respect and is viewed as a brother. Through this, the mystery of racism is solved. This is how the critical theory has been employed.
Character examples of personal functions of sports have been applied. These may include the development of the feeling of belongingness and socially identifying with each other; the acceptable outlets for aggressive and hostile feelings; and the role which is played by sport in bringing meaning to life.
In the movie, the issue of belongingness and social identification has been constantly exposed. Social identification is argued to be an individual’s portion of self-concept. This can only be perceived through membership in a social group. The social identity is also a way through which intergroup behaviours can be explained. In the study movie, sport serves many functions, including that of creating some sense of belongingness. This is because it was used as a tool in reuniting the two groups to embrace each other and consider themselves as brothers. Every race initially felt superior and the members tried to relate within themselves, without caring much about the other race. When Boone offered Yoast a position of an assistant coordinator in coaching the team, Yoast is reluctant to accept the post. It takes the intervention of the white players in the team through threatening to boycott from the team’s activities that Yoast accepts to take up that role. The actual reasons as to why Yoast accepted to take up this position can also be said to be due to some feeling of belongingness. In actualizing their pledges to boycott the school, the white students stood a chance of losing their scholarships. This is the reason why Yoast changes his mind to take up the position which he had been offered.
In the camp, there is a constant clash and several racially motivated conflicts. All the clashes were notably between black players and white players. Gerry Bertier has differences with Julius Campbell. Whenever this happened, players always took sides, with the blacks throwing their support behind their fellow blacks, similar to what the whites practiced. Through these activities that took place in the camps, the players identified with each other differently. However, at the end, sport has acted as the means through which the differences in the camps and the community have been solved. All members end up trusting each other and relating as brothers. This creates a new sense of identity and belonging.
Sport has acted as the outlet for hostility and aggressive feelings. Though conflicts are always viewed negatively, some positives can be taken from them. One of the advantages of conflicts is that they reveal probable loopholes that exist in the relationship between two people or parties. Without the conflicts, it would be difficult to know the true characters of the parties involved. Knowing the probable differences and setting out mechanisms to overcome them is very essential in the society. This is because by solving the problems amicably, the cold war between the parties involved is always solved. In this context, sport has been used as the avenue through which the hostilities and the aggressive feelings have been solved. The issue of racial discrimination had been rampant in the suburbs of Virginia. However, this issue was not being talked about, the effects being further rifts between the two races. By deciding to close the two schools and sending the students to one school, the Authorities were convinced that this was the perfect way to tackle this issue. Even after this, the rifts are still evident in the football team. White players threaten to pull out unless their white coach, Yoast, takes the position of the assistant director. Mr. Boone, the head coach faces a double jeopardy (Washington, 2011). This is because he has to ensure that the team performs well, at the same time maintaining the harmony in the team. The success of the team heavily depended on the way the individual players could relate. Divisions among the players could only facilitate the downfall of the team. Because of this, the coach employs forceful coaxing and rigorous athletic trainings to the team members. Through this, he achieves success in both the team’s performances and the racial harmony. The performances of the team therefore acted as the catalyst in unifying the two races and this is taken well by the community which in turn pledges its support behind them. Through this, sport performs the function of being the front through which the aggressive feelings and the hostilities are tackled.
Over and over again, sport has played a crucial role as the cultural element that brings some meaning to life. This has happened in both real life situations and in the movie. Sporting facilities and the competitions have succeeded in reducing delinquent behavior in several parts of the globe (Earnheardt et al., 2011). Sport helps, among many things, reduce violence. It plays a big role in keeping the youth out of some serious troubles. Above all, sport is essential and has, in many occasions, countered the moral despair of many participants and the sympathizers. In the movie, the coach steps onto the field and to him, all that matters is winning the game. To him, racism will not play any part in preventing him from achieving this. The coach, Mr. Boone acts as a perfect example that everything is possible and is a good example on why people should never give up. When he was hired to replace Yoast, who was the favourite white coach of the town, this was not taken well by the players. He faces an uphill task to reunite the team and avoid being sacked of failure to perform. In order to achieve this success, he knows that he must first fight racism. Despite this fact, the white players threatened to walk out of the team, leaving him with only black players who were not enough. The manner in which he tackles this problem is very mature. This creates many positives in encouraging people that despite the challenges that we may go through, the way in which we handle them is very essential in determining their outcome (Bankston, 2000). Boone did not whine about the problems he faced. He quietly solved them to a great effect. The expectation of the community that he would lose one game and be sacked never materialized. The teachings that can be adopted from the movie are that it takes patience to overcome various challenges. Through this, it can be rightfully argued that sport has managed to bring a new meaning to life.
The movie also employs extra sport character behavior in its plot. An interpersonal relationship is a key issue that is brought out throughout the movie. Different members of the Titanic team relate differently. From the beginning, the relationship between Boone and Yoast was hostile. Even in the team, the two most talented players do not get along well. Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell have difficulties in relating well. This is because of the racial differences that existed among them. The change of their attitude and character, however, changes the fortunes of the team. The friendship and respect that Campbell and Bertier Developed represented progress in the team as a whole. These changes in the perspective from the Titans are in contrast to what was happening in the school and society in general. The community still held into racial animosity and the mistrust that had been existing. Bertier’s girlfriend, for example, is racially abused on several occasions.
Another aspect of extra sport character behavior is the whole issue about racism. As much as the movie and its morals revolve around the football team, many things are revealed that are not related to football. The move to combine the two schools into one was an intentional move by the authorities to curb the whole behavior and issue on racism. This is a recurring theme in the movie and it, throughout the movie, proved to be a difficult thing to overcome. It was however possible to be overcome and that is what was achieved in the movie. The racism was towards the black people in general and whatever that had been under their control. Further, the whites’ parents openly fought the bus transportation to the school. They never wanted their children to intermingle with the blacks. However, through the football team, this issue is solved.
Bankston, C. L. (2000). Sociology basics. Pasadena, Calif: Salem Press.
Earnheardt, A. C., Haridakis, P. M., & Hugenberg, B. S. (2011). Sports fans, identity, and socialization exploring the fandemonium. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books.
Jones, C., & Munro, R. (2005). Contemporary organization theory. Malden, MA: Blackwell / Sociological Review.
Washington, D., Yakin, B., Washington, D., Faison, D., & Parker, N. A. (2011). Remember the Titans. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.