In the beginning of the movie Freedom Writers, the students initially only trust their peers from their racial groups. This is because they only trust the people in their gangs. Almost all the kids were in racially segregated gangs. At first, Ms. Gruwell has difficulty getting anything accomplished. Many of these students have never been shown any respect in the past. Eva and some of the other students tell Ms. Gruwell that they will not just hand her their respect, she must earn it. Ms. Gruwell begins to earn the respect of her students when she moves the students around, out of their racial divisions.
She attempts to show the students that they are united by playing the “Line Game” with them. She puts a line of thick red tape across the classroom and tells the students to move forward when a statement she makes applies to them. Her most effective form of reaching out, however, comes in the form of a composition notebook. Trust is an important component of a teacher-student relationship because if a student doesn’t trust the teacher, nothing the teachers teaches is affective. Ms. Gruwell eventually managed to get her students to show tolerance for one another.
She teaches them about the Holocaust and that despite the students’ ethnic backgrounds, they aren’t all that different from each other. For example, she takes them to the Museum of Tolerance. This shows that the students aren’t realistically the different despite the color of their skin or their ethnic background. This is important because Ms. Gruwell could not effectively teach the class until they could get along. As a result, the students begin to build up a tolerance for one another. Part of Ms. Gruwell’s outlook on racism was affected by her father. For example, growing up, her father was a civil rights worker.
This shows that his work most likely influenced her views on racism as she grew up. This is important because it taught her not to discriminate against others. As a result, she is able to change the views of her students for the better. At one point, Ms. Gruwell confiscates a racial caricature that was circulating the class. For example, the drawing was of a black student drawn with thick, exaggerated lips. Ms. Gruwell then compared the sketch of the caricatures that the Nazis used to draw of the Jews during the Holocaust. This showed that none of the students even knew what the Holocaust was.
This is important because it allowed Ms. Gruwell to teach her students how serious racism really was. As a result, the students became more tolerant. Ms. Gruwell knew that all the students were suffering from physical violence, emotional abuse, substance abuse, poverty, homelessness, gang violence, and deaths of family and friends. She felt sorry about them and wanted to help them sincerely. She did it, and as a result, the class was getting better and better, and the classes grades turned up quickly. Others teacher didn’t believe Ms. Gruwell despite she did a great job.
They thought she was a new teacher and had no idea about teaching. But the main point was, they had serious racial prejudice in their minds, they disliked the students in Room 203. For example, one of the teachers refused to lend books to Ms. Gruwell. This shows the racial discrimination was really serious. Hence, Ms. Gruwell had to do everything by herself. Even when Ms. Gruwell’s husband left her, the students made her life better. Problems still came up, she was denied to teach Room 203 in junior and senior year. But after the tough fight with other teachers, she was allowed to stay with them till the end of high school time.
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Topic: Racism and Kathryn Hess English
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