The movie Glory Road, released in 2006 and directed by James Gartner, features the story of racial discrimination. This film is set in the 1960s when the issue of discrimination based on race became one of the biggest social problems. Then, the underdogs, the Blacks, were secluded in many social events. In this case, the Blacks did not get an opportunity to participate in the basketball games even though they had the talent. Don Haskins, the newly appointed coach of the unsuccessful basketball team at Texas Western College in El Paso, found that the team did not have enough talent. He made the bold move of filling his TWC basketball team with seven African Americans. Many people despised the move, but Haskins maintained his stance and went ahead by letting African Americans to play only in the final match of the tournament against legendary Kentucky Wildcats and won.
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In general, the theme of the movie is social conflict bringing forth three major concepts. They are socialization, racism, and social mobility. Socialization is a sense-making process that enables people to adapt, create relationships and establish their position in the society. In essence, it is through socialization people can acquire and develop knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that enable them to be successful when participating in various activities as members of the organization. In the movie, the aspects of socialization are eminent when the coach introduces the African Americans into the team. The TWC basketball team bases its performance on cooperation. The dissension between the black and white players intensifies as the games come to an. Consequently, the lack of collaboration became real in the field and undermined their performance, yet they were highly capable of winning. Afterward, Haskins worked on developing cooperation, and the team was able to win most of NCAA tournament matches and finally reach the finals.
As mentioned earlier, the concept of racism is also present. Racism is the reason for most of the problems which the team was experiencing. Racism is a social issue in which some groups of people are segregated based on their skin color. The belief that people belonging to a particular race possess specific characteristics that are unique to that race advances racism. Racism sets the threshold against which others may view an individual as being inferior and another one as superior. In the Glory Road, the African American groups are the inferior ones. They are excluded from most of the social events, in this case, basketball. They are not considered by coaches when sourcing for talent. Haskins was a unique coach who went beyond the racist notion that the Blacks cannot perform as well as the white. In the end, he was able to play in the “Blacks only team” against Kentucky Wildcats’ “white only team”. Haskins won despite the numerous challenges he and his team had to endure as a result of allowing the Blacks to play.
Finally, the concept of social mobility is also evident. Most descriptions of social mobility revolve around improvement in the economic status of an individual. On the contrary, the social mobility encompasses other social factors that enable people to scale up the social strata. In the movie, the inclusion of the Blacks in the team proved that they are as good as the Whites. Additionally, it opens up avenues for career development in sports, which is likely to have economic benefits.
People become individuals after their socialization into the community. Social structures exist and determine the actions of individuals. In this movie, the setting of social structures is along racial prejudice. The African Americans are believed to be inferior to the Whites. Consequently, they did not get any chance to play in the basketball tournament. One cannot blame the Whites for discriminating against Blacks. The society in which Blacks grew up is founded on social structures that make them believe that they are inferior. However, it is paramount to note that social structures are not entirely determinative. If they were determinative, Haskins would not have recruited Blacks into his team. What social structures do is determine the probable cause of action, but alternatives and opportunities are available. On the other hand, as an agent, Haskins is expected to choose the Whites only for his team due to learning experience he got from the society. However, the decision to recruit the Blacks symbolizes that people have the autonomy to choose and, consequently, cause changes in the social structures.
The filmmaker of Glory Road had a functionalist mind. The main aim was to shoot down the prejudice that some people in the group are superior to others. Initially, when Haskins integrated the Whites and Blacks into the same team, there was mistrust and the lack of cooperation that made victory impossible. As time went on, they developed mutual respect for each other and results started to improve. However, new hurdles emerged when the bad examples of racism came from the general public. At one point, three white thugs attacked and beat up Nevil Shed. In another instance, bigots from the white population trashed the motel rooms of the team. Racial tension developed and undermined cooperation in the basketball court when they were playing in their regular season finale. They lost the match. The filmmaker emphasizes that the society can function well if each member values the contribution of others.