I have decided to watch movie” School Ties” because it talks about Americans college students from 1950s and their way of looking at race and religion. ‘School Ties’ addresses the prevalent anti-Semitism views in the USA. But it also presents discrimination and social pressure to ‘fit in’, the urge to deny one’s ideals and beliefs in order to be accepted by environment. Main character of the movie David Green is a Jewish kid who is very talented in football, this skill gets him a full scholarship to an exclusive New England Prep School and thereby a one in a million chance to get into Harvard.
At the beginning of the movie we can see that David has to pay a high price because of his Jewish heritage. Before living to school David stopped at the local teen hangout to say goodbye to his friends, while doing it he get taunted by a member of a rival gang and called “Jewish buster”, after hearing that remark David fought him, it seems like he is used to getting respect from others by force. On the arrival day at the new school, David is advised by the sports coach to keep his Jewishness to himself.
It is upsetting to know that even school officials are not able to tolerate his religion. Later, in the dormitory, David meets his upper-class schoolmates who are patently anti-Semitic, more because it’s the commonly accepted attitude than for any specific, personal reasons. Their casually spoken remarks bother David, but he does not react to it because he wants to fit in. He realizes that they’ll tolerate his not being as rich or as connected as them better than the fact of him being Jewish.
David is willing to sacrifice a lot in order to be part of the group, even though it compromises his upbringing. He hides his Jewishness because he knows the reaction it will provoke. Yet he still sneaks off in the middle of the night to celebrate the Jewish New Year. In the middle of the movie fact of David being a Jew comes out and at that moment his world falls apart. Each of David’s classmates reacts differently to the realization that they have made friends with a Jew. These reactions vary from cautious acceptance to outright condemnation .
Although most of David’s classmates, blatantly and continuously proclaims that Jews are dirty, greedy, and worthless. His new friends do not want to have anything to do with him, his girlfriend dumps him and explains that she does not want to be ridiculed by others and hear comments of” how it is to kiss a Jew” David has a hard time understanding entire situation; he’s still the same person after all. He confronts his room-mate Chris, who tries to pretend it isn’t so much about being a Jew as about having lied to them.
According to him David should have told him from the beginning that he was a Jew. David defends himself by pointing out that Chris hadn’t told him about being a Methodist. Ostracized on all sides, David now faces harassment nasty remarks in the dining room and then a Nazi banner in his room saying “Go home Jew” During the history exam one of the boys cheats and loses a copy chit he was using, Professor finds it and requires the cheater to admit; unfortunately no one is ready to take the blame. Therefore boys trying to decide themselves which one of them is guilty.
Boys spending long time debating and their votes are divided between David and Dillon. By the end they decide to blame David because of his Jewish heritage, when David’s roommate is trying to defend him one of the boys makes a mean remark toward him saying “You rather give up one of us for the price of a stupid Jew”. Boys ending up in favor of Dillon and force David to admit something he had not done. David is told to go and admit his ‘crime’ to the Principal. Deeply hurt, David sees no other way than to comply with this obvious ganging up. He goes to the Principal’s Office and takes the blame.
But, fortunately, the truth came out because one of the boys who saw Dillon cheated informs school officials before David admits. Dillon is summarily expelled and David is asked to stay on. The Principal wants to ‘forget’ the incident even happened, but David refuses to do so. “You used me for football”, he says, “Now I’ll use you to get into Harvard”. The movie presents many types of microagression while analyzing it we can easily distinguish microassault that refers to verbal and nonverbal attack to convey discriminatory and biased sentiments.
In the movie boys intentionally attack David verbally and nonverbally when they find out that he is Jewish, it is definitely an example of overt discrimination. On every occasion they freely express derogatory feelings and opinions that they hold against David’s “otherness”. It is really upsetting that actions like that are going on in one of the most prestigious Colleges that should actually be an example to others of how to treat diversity, instead of discriminating it should teach acceptance and tolerance.
I really enjoy a movie and I believe It well presents a struggle that every one of us could have facing such a great opportunities. Deciding between religion which is part of our identity or being successful in academic career can be pretty challenging task. I think film “School ties” brought into a discussion a real issue which is very relevant, we all want to be part of dominant group and in order to do so we often must gave up some part of our identity which is distinct, unfortunately such a decision will never make us fully satisfied with ourselves.