Friday night lights racism essay

For All Ages

Back to the bottom rung! So I had to start back up trying to win them over, like I did in third grade. The fight for acceptance was a lot different this time around. Everybody at Harvard was at the top of their class academically.

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Perhaps most profoundly, he no longer had football on his side at Harvard. He always felt alienated. He ignored the football games at UT, instead adopting a very Ivy League pastime. He founded the Mexican-American Law Students Association at Tech, then got further in touch with his heritage by spending a year in Mexico after graduation.

And all of this set him on a path quite different from the one a reader of Friday Night Lights might have imagined for him.

Homework for me

So I could make as much money as anybody I went to school with and not have to work like a New York lawyer, and be close to my family. Maybe being at Harvard and so far away, being so isolated, made me appreciate it or long for it. I just decided from a quality of life standpoint, this was an easy decision.

The civil suits came first and fast. Less than three weeks after his home invasion arrest, the Castillos, joined by the Oronases, sued Chavez.

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So after the settlement, Chavez thought he would have no further trouble. Chavez had friends in high places all over Odessa, including in the local court system. First, Judge John Smith recused himself, citing his relationship with Chavez. Then District Attorney Bobby Bland begged out of prosecuting the case, also citing a friendship with the accused. Mau says his only previous trip to Odessa had come a year earlier, when he was tasked by the state to prosecute a murder case that dated back to But when I heard the state was taking over the case, I knew I was in trouble.

Mau ignored the agreements signed by the alleged victims and brought the case to a grand jury. The victims cooperated with Mau, and the prosecutor now says he thinks he eventually got a straight story from Chavez about what took place after the game. In the eyes of the law, when Chavez and his posse went through the front door, they crossed a legal line.

The grand jury indicted him for burglary of a habitation with intent to commit assault, a felony. Mau says that he took into account that Chavez had never been arrested before. He offered him a deal with no jail time, but the maximum fine, hours of community service, and five years of supervised probation. Mau also told Chavez that if he took the deal, the state would not pursue various other charges that had been hanging over his head since the ruckus, such as witness tampering and making a false report to a police officer. All defendants were offered similar deals. As the settlement was filed with the court, his attorney, Mike McLeaish, told the media that Chavez was sorry and that his client had suffered enough.

He is a nice guy. As it was, the board moved to suspend his license for the length of his probation—until, that is, Dec. If he went to trial and got convicted, he says, he thinks it likely that he would have been permanently disbarred. As it worked out, the kid who came off in the book as the most eager and prepared to get out of town is the only one who ended up there. Not one of the other five Permian players that Buzz Bissinger used as main characters still lives in Odessa.

Even the Permian kid that the book painted as most inert, Bridgitte Vandeventer, got away and stayed away. He bought her a ranch to show his appreciation for leaving West Texas, and then discovered diamonds on the property.

He founded a trucking company and bought up Odessa real estate to take advantage of the biggest oil boom to hit West Texas since the s, then invested in a restaurant and a ballroom. He also got engaged to Soto. It was good to diversify. The state bar told him that he was eligible to practice law as of this week. He still pays attention to Permian football, like everybody else in Odessa.

He followed the squad with more emotion this season than he had since he played. His nephew, Anthony Chavez, was a senior defensive back and special teamer for Mojo. Brian Chavez coached Anthony on youth leagues all the way up to high school. As long as players like Boobie miles perform as they are expected to, they reap the benefits of being a football star. If something should affect their performance like an injury, they become expendable.

Bissinger notes that the racism cuts both ways. Bissinger portrays the predominantly black Carter fans and players as overtly racist and angry. One of the running themes in this book involves the license that football gives fans and players to act like racist hooligans. This prejudice begs the question: are these fans merely stirred up by the moment or is football enabling them to act out their inner prejudices?

Is the high school football game a vehicle to display long simmering racial aggression? Perhaps these outbursts are due to a combination of factors but the cumulative effect on the atmosphere of this game is ugly. The reader gets the distinct sense that this football game is more about racial superiority than it is about football. LaRue Moor is a dynamic English teacher at Permian who laments the priorities of the school and the community.

Although a fan of Permian football, she regrets that academics have been largely been sacrificed for football glory.


Teachers are underpaid and overworked professionals who serve a clientele that would, largely, attend pep rallies and football games than get an education. A typical day for Boobie at school involves joking around in his classes or playing with an object for his amusement. Boobie is at least two years behind his peers in all his subjects. Bissinger is also critical of other schools, Like Carter High in Dallas, who violate and circumvent the educational system in order to produce a winning football team. This overall apathy towards education is made worse by the tacit acceptance of academic mediocrity by everyone from parents right up to the school board.

Most stakeholders in the school system seemed oblivious to exactly what these kids do after high school. Many teachers shrug their shoulders in futility. Perhaps this is the curse of Odessa: generations of unskilled kids taking their chances in the boom-and-bust economy of the oil fields. The problems with the education system are really a microcosm of the mentality of a strictly oil based economy.

The failure of the economy predictably leads to failures in family structure, education, and community stability. Bissinger often alludes to the surreal importance that the community puts on high school football.

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All the stresses of life in a tough economy are placed squarely on the shoulders of a group of teenage boys and a coach whose job depends on success. Football becomes a very odd partner with food stamps, divorce, and social marginalization. They enter an unforgiving world with a few memories of football glory and a mediocre education.

In reality, it is a pep rally is set up by the school administration to turn mere boys, many that cannot adequately write and or add numbers, into gods.

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The event is designed to showcase the team for that year. As long as the systemic and inequitable treatment of black people persists, players should not move past kneeling. When it comes to power and leverage, black athletes hold a trump card. If our most famous athletes can take a stand, then maybe we all can. Hill argues that the revenue and prestige that predominantly white colleges receive from big-time athletics is derived from the exploitation of black men.

Although black men make up only 2. And when the students graduate, they still have to live in the same world as the rest of us, in which their trophies cannot protect them from being harassed and exploited. Just last year, a police officer was caught on video harassing Milwaukee Bucks basketball player Sterling Brown. We know that when our athletes take a stand, everyone takes notice. In November , black members of the football team at the University of Missouri showed their support of Jonathan Butler, a graduate student who went on hunger strike to draw attention to the failure of the university system president to address racism on campus.

The very next morning, he resigned. Kaepernick recognized his own power when he took a knee — and as fellow players followed suit, the NFL had to recognize that power, too. What if black athletes across sports and different levels exercised their power collectively like the Missouri football team? The only people who advise otherwise are those benefiting from the status quo.

Join us today. Andre Perry, a contributing writer, is a David M.

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