Essay on The Freedom Writers

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  2034 Words
Date:  2021-07-02

In their attempts to implement equitable practices in the public schools in the United States, a number of critical issues, multicultural as well as anti-terrorist theorists, practitioners and researchers have fronted the proposition that teachers move beyond diversity methods to multicultural education as they adopt programs to address critical issues of equity and power, notably, racism, and profiling. It has been argued that the multicultural approach is made such that it goes beyond the approaches of mere contributors and discourage what educators are often of, the insertion of discrete ethnic holidays, heroes and cultural artifacts into the established curriculum (Nagel, 2003).

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While it remains important to sensitize students to live in harmony with their fellow peers, it is also important to make them appreciate their diversity regarding culture and language. While the approach is quite remarkable, it is not the most efficient as it does not examine thoroughly, the underlying symmetrical associations of power producing this kind of inequitable outcomes in the schools and society. Similarly, the discussions of race inequalities are critical in the sense that teachers get to raise the awareness on profiling and this can lead to acceptance among the students to co-exist without qualms. However, most teachers fear to talk about this especially in a classroom where there are a dozen white students and a cluster of colored students. That is, there is a general fear that there might be cases of a dysfunctional classroom shifts that by so doing, they perpetuate the same vice and the students end up hating on their fellow peers who do not share in the same skin tone (Tasker, 2002).

This task attempts to provide the rationale for the dysfunctional components of race, gender roles, and sexuality in teacher education programs on the film, Freedom Writers. This is done as a way of showing how a teacher-student approach is a critical tool in taming the rising cases of race among students in schools. It is not unusual for teachers to identify different manifestations of white students resistance to such talks as a race. It could go as far as the white students preserving teachers and employing a host of excuses or tactics to evade such kind of discussions. In the movie, Freedom Writers, the author has applied the approach of teacher-educator so as to help tame an otherwise rogue group of children who know nothing about peace (Steinberg, 2001). Being mostly Hispanics and African Americans, they hide in their race to perpetuate violence and lead a gang life, something that their new teacher, thanks to her resilience and caring, manages to trim them and show them the light, despite all the odds and negative energy directed towards ensuring her downfall. The Freedom Writers is such a film that makes use of precisely hatched out plans to tame such issues as race and gender in a manner that would only be done no better (Tasker, 2002).

Based on real events and life story of Erin Gruwell, Freedom Writers presents a case of diversity in a society that seems not to care about the same. Diversity is somewhat one of the hardest things to live within any society and by far, one of the most dangerous to live without. It, therefore, presents both a delicate balance and complicated scenario. Freedom Writers is one of those movies that stage idealistic themes (Hebert, & Speirs, 2002). The strongly willed teacher presented in the film transforms into a tough owing to the rudeness and truancy among the city youths she finds herself teaching. The movie is somehow too polished and slick for its good. However, it uplifting moral messages, as well as the interesting characters and situations, marries with the good qualities of the typical classics like Stand and Deliver and the Blackboard Jungle.

The movie stars a young woman, a teacher by profession, and named Hillary Swank, stage name being Erin Gruwell. She gladly accepts the position she is assigned to being a teacher to the freshmen and sophomore English at the Woodrow Wilson School, Calif. After the Los Angeles incident in which a series of riots were reported, the newly recruited teacher still battles with issues of race. She finds it hard to easily mix with the freshmen who were a mix of Hispanics, Asians, and people of color or African Americans among others. The film presents a scene where a white guy is just about to leave the school premises, and the African American kids, Hispanics, and Asians have apparently taken their gang wrangles from the streets right into the classroom. The children are not interested in her teaching of proper language or grammar, neither do they care about her discussions on Poem by Homer (Steinberg, 2001).

When a Hispanic student attempts to draw a racist portrait of a fellow student, Ms. Gruwell viciously begins telling them about the horrors of racist tendencies, the bigotry, and genocide that the Jews went through at the hands of the National Socialist Germans as well as the accompanying historical prism. She notes to her students how serious Adolf Hitler was a no-nonsense man who would reduce their gangs into ashes. To her dismay, only one of the students among the many she addressed had a clue about what she was talking about. In response, she decides to have some form of rebuke to the students in an attempt to try and remove shreds of hatred amongst them. This she attempts to achieve through teaching the students the events that took place at the Holocaust as she felt that this was one of the surest ways of addressing this issue. She goes further to offer them The Diary of Anne Frank, a book she offers them to have a personal feel of and write their experiences based on the same, in a daily diary.

As a result of this intervention, the students somehow start to show signs of change. However, the efforts of Mrs. Gruwell leads to staged conflict between her with the retrogressive and backward thinking heads of the department she belonged as well as with her husband who protests to be accorded peace while he forgets about issues once he gets home. In any case, Freedom Writers is deemed to be a slick; then it still has more than enough provocative and heartfelt moments to qualify as the first ever entertaining movie genre of the year 2007 to have seen the light of day. Even though the film tends to lay emphasis on the public school teachers efforts to pacify the warring masses, it presents her as a secular character and somehow romantic. This is a clear indication that the movie keeps on revisiting the theme of morals, doing the right things and ending the murderous tendencies of the gangs both at school and within the streets. The film also seems hell-bent to see to it that society attempts to bring to an end, the perpetual wars and try to break through the hateful tribes of the angry racists that the film tends to highlight throughout its plot. From these events, it could be said that Freedom Writers is a movie that profoundly draws its presentations and setting from positive moral values. That is to say, the focus of the film is to rebuke racism and the activities of the gang members utterly. The film does not only instill emotional power but also instills the sense of intellectual stimulation, that is, through uplifting and entertainment. One of the most powerful and encouraging messages, as derived from the movie, is the fact that the students were able to grasp the knowledge of truth and high moral values and also be able to apply them in their individual lives plus on those around them. Through this film, one can deduce that there is an element of illusion where one gets cleansed and get atonement of their sins where they get the renewed spirits and learn the right ways of life as they seek guidance from truth and knowledge.

How Gruwell got rid of prejudice and race in the film

The belief by Ms. Campbell that at-risk students are not capable of learning is in itself an element of prejudice or stereotype, that is, the general impression and expectations on social groups as well as their members. The cold shoulder that Mr. Gelford gives the students is also another form of prejudice based on the color of the skin. Additionally, the gang violence getting rife in the school is discrimination based on the behavior of the members of the group.

Even though the film is deemed to be slightly liberal and secular in its way of approach, the film is not in any way offensively secular or liberal that anyone who is a Biblical Jew believer or conservative would not find fancy in watching it or getting the messages from the movie. The only issues worth concern about the film which is somewhat offensive and disturbing is the use of foul mouth and language. Nevertheless, the foul language seems to reduce towards the end of the movie as the teacher seems to have transformed the students. At this point, the students are morally upright and speak with decorum.

Romanticism in the film tends to front the argument that man is an inherently noble being, and civilization corrupts man. It is worth noting that from the movie, one can justifiably preclude that man is controlled by the desires of his heart as well as the emotions, and unfortunately, not by his intellectual capacity, nor local mind. Instead, the movie portrays education as the only thing that can transform man and the society as a whole for the betterment of all and sundry. It can also be deduced that the film presents some form of paganism and mob rule, things that have a direct connection with Romanticism, even though this tends to be more consistent with the film and evades totemism. However, Romanticism is not in any way related to romance but is in itself an idealistic world perspective.

The application of Gender

Freedom Writers is a narrative and drama cinema that attempts to explain the manner in which women are portrayed as objects gazed by men. This is, however, not typical of the film since Erin who is the teacher, is presented to have strong female personality and role and is seen as a dedicated character who takes pride in her transformative resolve to help the city youths from the yoke of wastage and gang life. This she achieves by entirely changing their views while in college. Erin works exceptionally hard to be able to influence the behavior of these youths and to bring back students who had neglected their school work, it was important that she did extra miles to take them back up to speed with the demands of a college student. The movie can be said to have been centered on her with the students writing stories about their lives and objectives in life, and it is through her motivation that makes this attainable and not her position as being a mans object. The interesting bit of this film is that it doesnt center on Erins husbands career, rather, it focuses on the Erins. The film also presents Erin as a resilient and hard working woman who goes for extra jobs aside from her normal job to raise money for the boys to buy books. This could indicate that Erin probably made more money than what the husband ever made. It could be preempted that it is her success that makes the husband resent her and end up divorcing her. Probably because she could not tend to him and saw no need to be with her, so he jumped and divorced her (Epstein, 2000).

Her many jobs also demonstrate that a woman has to work hard and dedicate herself to her jobs so as to maintain a decent life. On the other hand, the man in the movie is depicted as very rich and has a multimillion dollar business and doesnt seem to work as hard as the woman is in the movie.


Ashford, J. B., & LeCroy, C. (2009). Human behavior in the social environment: A multidimensional perspective. Nelson Education.

Carbado, D. (1999). Black men on race, gender, and sexuality:...

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